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COUNTRY MARGINS 



llmHes 0f E |0iindi^t,^ 



Sr"!!. HAMMOND, 

AUTHOR OF "HILLS, LASSS, AND FOREST STREAMS. 
AM) 

L. W. MANSFIELD, 



AlTnOR OF " IT-COITNTRY LPnTRRR. 



NEW YOEK: 
J.C.DERBY, 119 NASSAU STREET. 

BOSTON : PHILLIPS, SAMPSON & CO. 
CINCINNATI: F. W. DEE-BY. 

1855. 



Entered, according to Act of Confess, in ttie year 1855, by 

J. C. DERBY, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 
District of New York. 



15. ©. 3cnftins, printer. 

No. 26 Frankfort Stbbet. 



DEDICATION. 



TO THE HOK. THOMAS A. JOHNSON, 

A JUSTICE OP THE atJPREME COUKT OP TfiE STATE OP NEW TORK. 



My drar Sir :— 

You are to some extent responsible for the publication of this 
book. It was your own suggestion that " Coumtrt MARGiKa " should be print- 
ed and bound in a volume. Whether that advice was prompted by the kindly 
prejudices of ancient friendship, or a just appreciation of the merits of the 
work, you see it has been accepted. I therefore take the liberty of dedicating 
this book to you. If other excuse is necessary, I trust it will be found in tho 
recollections of bygone years. 

I am, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant^ 

THE AUTHOB OF " TTTT.T.q AND LAKE3." 



PREFATORY. 



The Editor of the Albany State Eeoistbb received one 
day from an anonymous correspondent, a conmimiication which 
occupies the first chapter of this book. He published it, with 
a playful commentary, supposing, at the time, that there the 
matter would end. A few days afterwards, he received 
" Margins No. Two," which he published with a commentary 
in like manner. From such beginning the correspondence 
grew on, until it acquired the dimensions presented in the book 
which is now given to the public. The writers were entire 
strangers to each other until the " Maeqins " were more than 
half written, and it was an accident which made them ac- 
quainted at last. 

At the suggestion and upon the solicitation of many friends, 
who professed to be pleased with the correspondence, most of 
which was published in the Eeqisteb, it goes before the public 
in its present shape. It makes no claim to any peculiar 
literary merit. It was simply the result of a digression in 
the routine of the labors of a daily journalist, intended to 
lift his paper out of the dull monotony of politics, rather than 
for publication in a book form. It does not, therefore, chal- 
lenge criticism, nor affect to compete with the finished pro- 
ductions of popular authors of the day for public favor. The 



Tl PEEFATORT. 

end of its publication will have been accomplished if it shall 
afford amusement for the leisure hours of those who desire 
relaxation from labor or severe study. 

But little more than one year has gone by since the last 
" Margin " was sent down to the printer, and now the " Up- 
Oountry" home, where the writers first met, is lonely and 
desolate. Of the happy group there gathered on that pleasant 
summer night, three have departed to another home. 

The light, the joy, of the house is gone. 

Time itself is but a " margin," dear reader ; it is but a step 
over its borders. 

S. H. H. 

AiEiNT, June, 1855. 



CONTENTS. 



COUNTEY MAEGINS. 
I. 

INVITATION TO DINNER. 

F1.0E 

" Soft-Boiled Graver— The Bear Performance— Speckled Trout 9 

n. 

THE HALL CLOSET. 

"Lie Still, My DarUngs"— The Smile of a Wife— Don't Toach the Wln^— 
Spring Gbickens 17 

m. 

COUNTRY LTTXURIES. 

What a Beaatifol Shower I— Tell Him to Come— Tonng Onions— Kev- 
Movn Hay— A Kls3 Between the 'Eyes — Climbing a Mountain — " Small 
Bob" 2T 

IV. 
EDITOR'S LATITDDB AND LONGITTTDE. 

Fourteen Stone Weight— A Beantifhl Morning— The Standard of Beanty 
—The Milk In the Cocoannt— Soorcea of Great ElTers— A Senstble Con- 
clusion— Don't Come on Friday 42 



viii CONTEKTS. 

V. 
A FEIEND FROM THE OLD DOMINION. 

FAQK 

The Eeverend Friend— L. P. of the T. F. V.— Elslng San— Taking a Beat 
— ^Turkey Shooting— First Song of the Lark— A Good Trout Stream — 
Betnming Home to Die 66 



VI. 

A CHAPTER FOR THE SABBATH. 
A Oood-Bye to the L. P.— Bishop Heber's Poetry — Orest and Glorious 
Traths— Old Memories— The last Farewell T2 



vn. 

ROARING RIVER. 

Stop Every Thing— Where are we Going?— Mountains and EiverB— All 
Aboard 1— The Watera of Health— Mile Posts by the 'Wayside 82 

vm. 

HOW POEMS LOOK EST PRINT. 
A Little Poem— Briefc not Plenty— The Gentleman in Black 94 

IX. 

ISOLATION. 

Pleasant Snmmer Pictures— The Young Indian- No Man his own Master 
— Sleep, Beautiftal Sleep I— Brook-Trout and Dreams— A Forest Dream 
— Caprices of a Dream— The Dream Oyer 110 

X. 

D, WITH A DASH TO IT. 

Troubles of an Editor— Blowing off Steam— Spelling Figs with a P— An 
Excited Bridegroom— Mists of Early Morning- A Marvellous Good 
World 120 



Contents. ix 

XI. 

SEPTEMBER. 

fAas 
A Bainy September— Beautiful Bummer Bays — Gold upon the Landscape 
— ^What did Katydid do7— ^ong of the Cricket— Days of Sunshine and 
Storm — ^The Tillage Schoolmaster — ^Matronly Composure 133 

XII. 

OCTOBER. 
Glory and Pomp of October— Modem BUmnlants — One of God's I.aws — 
The Betrayed Girl— A Solitary No— The Pippins in the Orchard— The 
Favorite Apple-Tree— The Thief in the Apple-Tree— She Served Him 
Bight— The Midnight Cnlprlt— Jnst Measure of BetribaUon 150 

xin. 

NELLY. 

Little Nelly Fast Asleep — ^Precocious Children — ^Love of Little Chlidren — 
The Garden of £den — ^Nothing Free From Danger — ^Adam and Kve no 
Childhood. IW 

XIY. 

BREAMS. 

Trifles Light as Air— Christianizing the World— The Phantasies of Dreams 
— Nothing New Under the Sun — Pure Spring "Water — A Dream of 
Childhood— An Extraordinary Prayer 18« 

XV. 

THE BRIGHT MORNING— AND JULY. 

The Death of Suzie— An Obliging Host— A Father's EecoUecUons— 
" Independence"— Northern Lakes— They are Gone, All Gone — Dragon 
Oysters 201 

XVI. 

THE DINNER, AND GOOD-BYE— DECEMBER. 

How did the Editor Best?- A Struggle with Boots— Shake Hands and 
Part— Teat of Spring Chicken*— Never Floored but Once— A Brick in 
the Hat— Farewell 21T 



CONTEN T3. 

COUNTEY EAMBLES. 



CANANDAIGUA— PBKN TAN— CROOKED LAKB-BATH 
— HORNELLSVILB. 

PAOB 

A Beantlful Landscape— Declining Tears of Life— Penn Tan Then and 
Now— A BeanHfnl Sliest of 'Water- A Beantlful Talley— Crooked Lake 
Beminiscenees— Ellling My Flist Deer— One of the First Settlers— A 
Frightened Negro — Good Old Times — ^ABear Instead of a Deer — ^Pass* 
Ing Down the Lake — ^The Sweet- Voiced Birds — ^Foaming Cascade — 
Thriving Tillage of Bath— Daylight Among the HlUs— Excitement of 
the Chase — " Gentlemen of the Jnryl"— Brook Tront— A Hnnting 
Anecdote— Who Killed the Deer f 233 

n. 

NIAGARA - PORTAGE— WELLSVILLB-COUDERSPORT. 
The Mighty Cataract- A Niagara in Minlature-^A Great Lumber Begion 
—Shrewd Tax Gatherers 27S 

ni. 

LAKE CHAMPLAIN— BTJRLINGTON- KEESEVILLE— AU 
SABLE PORKS— FRANKLIN FALLS- SARANAC LAKE 
—ROUND LAKE— TUPPER LAKE-BOG RIVER— ON 
THE BANKS— THE BLACK FLY. 

An Imaginary Picture— Islands in the Lake — When I Get Eich— A 'Won- 
derful Gorge — ^Brave Men are Sleeping — On an Elevated Plain — ^A Fire 
In the "Woods — ^A Country Tavern — Music of the Frogs — ^An Involun- 
tary Plunge— Bich Mines of Iron—The Two Settlers — "Seminary of 
Leaming^^Deep Fishing— The Bapids— An Eccentric Habit— The As- 
tonished Buck — ^The Slumbers of Night — ^A Fellow Sportsman — ^Beaver 
Canals— The Saranao "Woods 28T 

A. 
SUNRISE IN THE COUNTRY 333 

B. 

"THE SAINTS' REST" 339 



COTJISTTIIY ]>^A.IIGINS 



AND 



§lamilts 0f a |0uruaUst. 



OOTJN^THY Mi^RQIlSrS. 



INVITATION TO DINNEK, 

Theke are river margins,, and brook margins, 
the margins of lakes and seas, and of those Httle 
beauties in high places (hid away, often, in moun- 
tain tops), which we call ponds. There are also, of 
late, book margins. I live, sir, in the country, and 
am in the habit of filling in my book margins with 
such notes and exclamations as come uppermost in 
the course of reading, some of which are possibly 
highly original, {quien sabe f) but quite lost to the 
great world. 

Shall I send them down to you, Mr. Editor ? For 
I think, if handsomely printed, my friends might 
some day read them, by mistake supposing them to 
be by some " valued correspondent" other than I. 
"What say you ? How do you make it, yea or nay? 

Very good. Now I can't go to town to read 

books, or fill margins for you. In fact, I can't read 

a book in town. I can let my eyes run up and 

down its pages, but I do not take the book, unless 

1 



10 Country Makgins. 

indeed it is hard and abstract. Did you ever read 
Isaac Taylor's " Physical Theory of Another 
Life" ? I carried that book all about 'New York 
city, some years since, pocketing it at every sally 
out of doors, and reading it in omnibi, and all un- 
heard-of places for meditation and study, being 
utterly crazed with its enchanting speculations. In 
the same way, I could sit down on a drygoods box 
and work out a conic section ; but for a hooh — say 
of travel or sentiment — ^you need repose ; and it is 
so much the better if you have all proper accompa- 
niments and circumstances, harmonies of place, 
mood, &c., and for this and these there is but one 
place under the heavens — to wit : the country. 

Besides, i1; is necessary to dine before taking up a 
book, and you can't dine in town. To dine, you 
must have peas; and this, as Ross Brown's Dr. 
Mendoza says, is imposs. Nor can you have salad. 
Imposs, also. You may have shot, and you may 
have pale round things, which, with infinite butter- 
ing, cannot, however, express peas. 

We had peas, sir, the other day, for the first time 
this season. They were, perhaps, the best that ever 
came on the table since the creation of the world. 
What peas were before the deluge, cannot now be 
pronounced. Adam and Eve may have had a few 
messes equal to ours, but never, probably, after be- 
ing driven out of that beautiful garden. Your 
early peas, sir, are abominations. 
I have undertai;en peas in town, before now, and 



"Soft-boiled Gravel. 11 

tlie memory of those undertakings, even to this 
day, is fnU of wrath and indigestion. After repeat- 
ed faUvtres — Waterloo defeats so to speak — ^I have 
been again cajoled by the sight (optical delusion en- 
tirely) of peas. Drawing the dish carefully up, 
I have said, "Ah, here we have them at last — at 
last, thank the sweet heavens. My dear wife, hold 
your plate ; these, my excellent wife, are the thiug, 
eh? (a little nearer, my dear) so tender as they 
look, so delicate." " Yes," says my wife, " and so 
little, so young." " Of course, my darling, so little, 
so young, so — " and here I raise to my mouth 
a spoonful, and wait for the sensation. It comes, 
the sensation ; and as it comes, my wife and I com- 
pare notes with a look ; but oh, my countrymen I 
Don't ask me to enlarge. Think of a mouthful of 
piUs, or of soft-boiled gravel I and this, in the hope 
— the joyful anticipation of peas. 

Why, sirs and madams, the pea is the most gentle 
and delicate thing in aU the garden. It is not to be 
forced, but must have time, as all things must, to be 
good. Don't force it, therefore ; don't undertake to 
improve it ; don't water its life out, but give it a 
fair chance, soil, and sun, and showers ; and let it 
grow, as God designed it, into a properly perfected 
pea. The frost should approach, but not touch it ; 
and then, as it matures into podhood, I incline to 
think that lightning (round about) is good for it — 
a cutting up of the aix giving that freshness to the 
atmosphere which the pea takes into its heart, and 



12 CouNTEY Margins. 

makes a part of its life. Whence it gets its melting- 
ness (as of strawberries), its pure apple ricliness, and 
its creamy fulness of satisfaction to. the palate, is 
known only to the little round body itself, which 
has a way of its own, and is taught, doubtless, by 
heayen itself. 

But I was talking of books. I have been reading, 
of late, in the afternoons of two days, before and 
after Sunday, " The Old House ly the River," a book 
which I like at once, for its fair margin and hand- 
some look. It is a book, also, to the temper of 
which Sunday is no interruption. It will prepare 
you for the day, and the day prepare you again for 
the book. But on that holy day there are few books 
that I care to read, save the one Book of all. For 
in that I find better sermons, better sentiment, better 
philosophy, better news, better poetry, and better 
and more glorious facts (good fbr all eternity), than 
in all the utterances and exclamations of men since 
the world began. 

But " The Old House" is written with extreme 
purity of style, almost matchless in this respect, and 
with the clearness of sunlight, and I thank God that 
a man can be found to step out of the whirl of city 
life, and write a pure book like this. 

Dr. Tyng, I have been told, can write only in the 
tumult of the city. But his nature is a fiery one. 
Whereas the secret of this author's success is, that 
his true life is not in Wall street (eminently suc- 
cessful aa he is there), but in the forest, and on the 



The Bear Peefoemance. 13 

sea, and in that ■world of beautiful sentiment which 
surrounds, as with a glory, the heart of woman. 
Touches of humor appear occasionally, but the au- 
thor's range is mostly too high for humor. He does 
not care to come down to it. There is one charm- 
ing exception in the Bear Himt, which is the most 
exquisite piece of comicality I have seen for many 
a day. Hot as the weather is, I would be willing 
to ride twenty miles, without stirrups, to see that 
bear performance. But the author has touched the 
picture so perfectly, that one can sit at home, quite 
at ease, and see the whole thing to the life. There 
are, elsewhere, passages of great power, as in "Ben's 
Death" in Delirium Tremens, " The last leap of the 
Panther," "Mr. Stewart's Story," etc., but I like 
best, for my especial humor, " The old Chuch and its 
Pastor," " Old Friends," and chapters of a kindred 
nature. But any one who enters " The Old House 
by the Eiver," will find none but pleasant company; 
and if any one can read the book without finding 
that, he is a better man for his intercourse with 
that company ; he ought to retire, at once, to private 
life, — ^his being abroad is dangerous to the common- 
wealth. 

And now, Mr. Editor (stopping a moment to 
bracket my thanks to the author for having written 
this book, which I should like to have written my- 
. self), I will say — as to peas — ^that we shall have 
another mess in a few days, and very soon every 
day, or as often as the weather will permit. After 



14 Country Margins. 

a -week, you can scarcely come amiss. I have never 
seen your face, but if we liave peas that day for 
dinner, I'm sure I shall see a glad one. Will you 
come ? Yours, . 



Our correspondent has placed us in a dilemma. 
"We like the country, and we like peas — and we like 
an invitation to dinner. But it is always conve- 
nient to understand two or three preliminary matters 
before accepting such, an invitation. In the first 
place, it is a great advantage to know where you are 
invited to dine. It will not do to indulge in con- 
jecture on that subject; you might go to tlie wrong 
house, and get down by, and possibly under the 
wrong table. You might tax the tospitality of 
John Smitb under an invitation from James Brown. 
Then, again, it is well to know vnth whom one is 
invited to dine. Not that we are aristocratic, or 
insist upon associating (especially about dinner 
time) with "the first families." "We can eat a good 
dinner at almost anybody's expense. "We're liberal 
ia such matters, we are. But we are of the national 
school, silver gray, and no mistake. Suppose, on 
sitting down to table, we should find ourself cheek 
by jowl with a rank woolly, oran out and out aboli- 
tionist. He wouldn't let politics alone, of course, he 



Speckled Troxjt. 15 

wouldn't ; he'd take his stand on his platform, he'd 
denounce the Union as " an unholy league" and the 
Constitution as " an atrocious bargain," and draw- 
ing the esculents on his side of the table, demand of 
us concessions in favor of his opinions, or leave us 
to go away empty. That would be subjecting our 
principles to a test unnecessarily severe. 

An anonymous invitation "to eat peas," is all 
very well in its way, but it isn't according to our 
taste. There is too much of the ideal about it. It 
lacks the solid.ingredient of sober fact. If our cor- 
respondent will certify us of the place where we are 
to "eat the aforesaid peas," and the person with 
whom, and upon whose invitation we are to eat 
them, he will have to lay the venue a good way off, 
and have a pretty hard customer for a host, if he 
finds we decline, provided — ^the trimmings are all 
right. "We take it for granted we shall have some- 
thing besides "peas," something solid, something 
savory and pleasant to the taste, such as spring 
chickens, nicely broiled, or speckled trout fresh from 
the brook, or maybe, a brace or two of woodcock, 
or snipe, or a pair of fat wild ducks, and we shouldn't 
be at all offended to see them come on the table in 
succession, one after another like, together with 
salads and such vegetables as relish with them. 
And then a bottle or two of old port, or sherry, or 
Madeira, or even Champagne, wouldn't "rile" us in 
the least. The whole affair might conclude with 
delicate pastry and fruits, ices, and such cooling 



16 Country Margins. 

tilings a3 add to the comforts of the inner man in 
the warm summer days. "We never take offence 
at such trifles. But we can't really think of accept- 
ing an anonymous invitation to eat peas — ^we can't, 
indeed. 



II. 

THE HALL OLOSET. 

YoTJ have confused me a little, Mr. Editor. The 
blood has been mounting up and about my temples 
all the long day, at the thought of your unparalleled 

impu I mean your remarkable effront , or 

at least, your peculiar comment — ^upon my invita- 
tion to peas. 

But I am cooler now, and touching the great 
topic of dinner, I will say briefly, that wine with me 
is a memory — a reminiscence — or, if you please, an 
abstraction. To many it is a cZwtraction ; I make 
it an a&straction, by putting it in the hall closet, 
and turning the key. My wife, I will not deny, 
was a little elated at the idea of having a city Ed- 
itor to dinner ; but when I repeated, one by one, 
your extraordinary expectations, she became very 
thoughtful and sUent. 

Why you see, sir, the " spring chickens" we could 
count upon, by-and-bye ; but the "trout," the " wood- 
cock," the "snipe," the "wild ducks," and, coolest 
of propositions, that all these should be brought on 
consecutively, keeping half a dozen cooks busy, and 
quite confounding my father and my dear old aunt 

with such unheard-of proceedings — all these, and 
1* 



18 Country Makgins. 

ices, and wines, in our quiet country home I Oh, 
sir, I blush at the thought of it. Moreover, I with- 
draw the invitation. Don't come to dinner. I for- 
bid it. 

The other day, reading an account of three sun- 
rises* — one on a high Northern river, one on Lake 
Champlain, and one from the Berkshire Bowl — I 
said to myself, " Here is a true poet ; and, moreover, 
a philosopher. Oenial, I warrant you. In short, a 
man to throw both arms around 1" "Doubtless," I 
continued, "this man, like Milton, drinks water 
only, and feeds upon peas and pond-hlies, and the 
like wholesome things. How calmly and gloriously 
he writes of the morning! How handsomely he 
poises himself above the world ! Like a great white 
cloud, close up to the sky, with a sunny radiance 
about him, and earth, and all shadows and under- 
currents far away below, quite out of his beat." 

Now, who would have thought, Mr. Editor — I 
put it to you, yes, sir, to you — ^who would have 
thought that this man of brilliant sunrises was hold- 
ing forth, even then, through the strength of yes- 
terday's dinner ? Yesterday's snipe and woodcock, 
or (more shocking) yesterday's wine ? 

I have wine, sir. It is in a dark closet under the 
hall-stairs ; and there it will remain. I have turned 
the key and hid it away ; and no man wiU find it. 
Sauterne and Claret, and Old Port and Heidsick, 
and with them also, " Old Q." and Otard 1 

• See Appendix, A. 



"Lie Still, my Darlings." 19 

There they are, and sometimes I talk to them a 
little through the key-hole. "Lie still, my dar- 
lings," I say to them, " no one shall touch you. 
You are all locked in, and the key lost forever. 
No Editor shall come nigh you. Keep cool, and 
above all, keep your tempers. You, my pleasant 
Sauterne, my charming Sauterne, my ambrosial 
Sauteme ; you, who quite flattered me last summer 
that a half-bottle every day -was building me up 
into a strong tower, only to break me down in the 
fall, like the confusion of Babel : you, Old Ports, 
costly old chaps, but doubtful, I am sorry to say, as 
to your integrity : you, my only two Heidsicks ; 
two only of the many silver tops we had, what time 
my wife -and I " came home forever," — ^Ue quiet, 
all of you, and take your ease. Let us have no 
souring from neglect ; no poppings of summer 
wrath, my excellent quondams, but be patient, all, 
and bide your time." 

In this manner, sir, I keep them under, and in a 
healthy way. As to "OldQ.," the oily old fellow, 
there is no danger of his exploding. He is as strong 
and as firm as the stars, and as high. He has great 
conmaand of himself, "Old Q.," he never effer- 
vesces or runs into sour humors. Stand him belly- 
down, or on his feet, it is all one to him. Besides, 
as I have said, the key is lost, and they all 
know it. 

Wherefore, Mr. Editor, until I may suddenly find 
that*key, or until you can dine in a plain way, with 



20 CouNTBY Margins. 

say for wine, a glass of eau de sucre, or tlie like, I 
see no way to meet your wants. 

Lastly, as to wlio and where I am, tlie motion is 
not now in order. Perhaps I am a country clergy- 
man recreating in a country paper. (I shall preach 
to you ; aye, sir, I shall lay on and spare not.) Per- 
haps I am a country farmer, trying to get his wife 
to read the news. Perhaps a retired valetudinarian, 
amusing himself with a city Editor. Perhaps, and 
perhaps, and perhaps. 

In any case, for the present, my special invitation 
is (and my wife joins me heartily). Don't come to 
DINNER. Yours, . 



There it is again, just our luck to a dot. We 
knew 'twould be so. We'd have made our affida- 
vit to the fact beforehand. Just because we in- 
dulged in an imaginary dinner, (a poetical license,) 
on an anonymous invitation, we're to lose a mat- 
ter-of-fact meal. Surely this never could by pos- 
sibility have happened to any body but ourself. See 
the hardships of the matter. When a man fancies 
his legs under a gentleman's table, he may as well 
fancy any variety and amount of good things upon 
it. Where it is all fancy, why not swing loose, give 
rein to the imagination, and let it chQose its gait ? It 
costs no more to eat an imaginary good dinner, than 
an imaginary poor one. And yet we're to be struck 



The Smile of a Wife. 21 

off tlie list of invited guests, and denied even tlie 
consolation of " peas." Well, we're used to such 
misfortunes. 

" "We never loved a plant or flower," &c. 

" My wife, I will not deny, was a little elated at having a city 
editor to dinner ; but when I repeated, one by one, your extraor- 
dinary expectations, she became very thoughtful and silent." 

We give up tlie "woodcock" and tlie "snipe." 
We surrender tlie "brook trout" and the "wild 
ducks," let them all go-^they're no great things at 
best ; good enough in their way, but by no means a 
sine qua non for a good dinner. We give up our 
' ' extraordin ary expectations," and settle down on the 
" spring cMckens." We would not bring a shade 
of thought or sadness to the face of a good wife for 
worlds. We'd have her smUe. There's heaven in 
the smUe of a true woman. We would not have 
her silent for a gold mine. There's music in her 
voice sweeter than the song of harps. We would 
have her always happy, always cheerful. No cloud 
should ever darken the sunshine of her pure heart, 
if we could rule her destiny. 

" Now who would have thought, Mr. Editor, I put it to you, 
yes, sir, to you, who would have thought that this man. of bril- 
liant sunrises was holding forth even then, through the strength 
of yesterday's dinner, yesterday's ' snipe,' ' woodcock' or (more 
shocking) yesterday's 'wine?'" 

All Ulusory, all a mistake, but we can bear it. 



22 CoTJKTEY Margins. 

We're used to sucli things. It isn't the first time 
Ave've been made the victim of man's imperfectibil- 
ity of judgment, or his positive injustice. The 
" Yesterday" was a dark day with us, 'twas wash- 
ing-day with our wife at home, a day of cold meats, 
of half-picked bones and attenuated coffee, a day 
(and who is not thankful that it should be so ?) that 
comes but once a week, a day of all days that brings 
no inspiration to the poet's fancy, no buoyancy to 
its wing. " Yesterday's snipe or woodcock," quotha ! 
Our very dear friend, these things are not even 
" memories" with us. It maybe we're getting old, 
that the mists which hang around the memory when 
we pass into the sear and yellow leaf, obscure our 
vision of the past; but try as we will, we can recall 
no such incident within the circle of half a dozen 
years as " snipe and woodcock." Good things we've 
eaten at home and abroad, things savory and pleas- 
ant to the taste, but of " snipe and woodcock" we're 
innocent, indeed we are. And "yesterday's wine," 
too, is a fancy, pure ethereality; we derived no 
strength from wine — we made no terms with the 
"deceiver." "Wine never had a place on our table, 
nor in " our closet under the stairs." We never 
took it into our dwelling, never associated with it 
on any terms. We look upon wine as our enemy, 
we do indeed. Wine floored us once, and only once, 
and then 'twas by treachery. Under the influence 
of " repentance and soda water" we cut its acquaint- 
ance forever. Aye ! laugh as you will, 'tis gospel 



Don't touch the Wine. 23 

trutli ; point to the imaginary dinner we sat down to 
at your table, still we affirm its truth. 

" I have wine, sir, it is in a dark closet under the hall stairs, 
and there it ■will remain. I have turned the key and hid it 
away, and no man will find it. Sauterne and Claret, and Old 
Port and Heidsick, and with them also, " Old Q." and Otard. 
There they are, and sometimes I talk to them a little through 
the key-hole." 

Don't do tliat — ^it's dangerous. Hold no commu- 
nion witli them. Eve talked with the serpent, 
maybe at first " through a key-hole." She talked 
too often; she ate the forbidden fruit after talking, 
and the woes that darken human destiny followed. 
Have no word to say to them. Eather go boldly 
among them with a club and slay them, smash them 
into ten thousand pieces, throw them away to perish 
as they deserve upon the dunghill. It is this talk- 
ing to the bottle " through the key-hole" that has 
ruined thousands, aye, millions of men ; that has 
snatched an army of souls from Heaven, and peopled 
the dungeons of perdition with fallen spirits. It has 
broken the hearts of thousands upon thousands of 
mothers and fathers, and sent thousands upon thou- 
sands of wives in sorrow and desolation of spirit to 
the grave. It has given thousands upon thousands 
of sons to the prisons, and daijghters to shame. It 
is not enough that you "have locked them in a dark 
closet under the stairs, and hid away the key." 
Doors grow rusty upon their hinges, locks fail in 



24 Country Maegins. 

their office, wine grows in strength and power of 
seduction, with age. Yon are not safe, your chil- 
dren are not safe, your servants are not safe, while 
thewiae bottles are in that closet. Turn them out, 
break them in pieces. "Tis your only sure protec- 
tion. Talk not of your strength, your power of re- 
sistance. Look around you, see how many strong 
men, strong in intellect, strong in moral power, who 
mocked at the warning of danger, and derided the 
prophecy of their fall, who, in the face of all these 
things, became victims at last. Aye, victims ! and 
in spite of the admonitions, the prayers of mother, 
father, wife, children, all that could strengthen re- 
solve, went down through the drunkard's infamy to 
the drunkard's grave. Don't talk to those bottles 
"through the key-hole." 

" Wherefore, Mr. Editor, nntU I may suddenly find that key, 
or until you can dine, in a plain way, with — say for wine, a glass 
of eau de sucre, or the like, I see no way to meet your wants.'' 

That's what we call sensible talk. Don't waste 
time, our dear sir, ia looking for the key. Let it 
go. Get your " plain dinner" ready. Never mind 
the " sweet water." The pure element that bubbles 
up from beneath the rock, at the foot of the old 
birch, or the ancient maple, will answer our turn. 
Certify us of the time and place, and we'U be there. 
Prepare your "spring chickens." Let them be 
broiled to a demonstration, over hard wood coals — 
crisped and browned, but not burned. Baste them 



Spring Chickens. 25 

witli fresh sweet butter, and sprinkle them with 
parsley. "We'll come. Serve them up hot, smok- 
ing from the gridiron. Accompany them with peas, 
young potatoes and beets. We'll come. Don't for- 
get the white wheat bread, baked the afternoon be- 
fore, as the Patlander would say, and the pure yel- 
low butter, and the sliced cucumbers. Yes, we'll 
come. We'll be there to a minute. We'll " dine 
in a plain way." "Better is a dinner of herbs 
where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred there- 
with." 

" Lastly, as to who and where I am, the motion ia not now in 
order. Perhaps I am a country clergyman, recreating in a 
country paper. (I shall preach to you : aye, sir, I shall lay on 
and spare not.) Perhaps I am a country farmer, trying to get 
his wife to read the news. Perhaps a retired valetudinarian, 
amusing himself with a city Editor." 

No matter, our dear sir, your " spring chickens" 
shall be your warrant of respectability, and your 
peas the endorsement of your character. K you are 
a clergyman, you may preach to us. You may 
"lay on and spare not." We're remarkably pa- 
tient. We'll listen with commendable meekness, 
taking our revenge on the spring chickens. We 
respect the clergy. If you're a farmer, it's just as 
well. Our father was a farmer, our kindred are all 
farmers. It's a respectable calling ; those who be- 
long to it are coming to be the aristocracy of the 
land ; besides, they raise such fine spring chickens. 



26 Country Margins. 

We don't, by any manner of means, object to fariii- 
ers. K you're a retired valetudinarian, it's all the 
better. Your lack of digestion will augment our 
sbare of tbe cMckens. Amuse yourself with us to 
your heart's content. "We're to be amused with, if 
the chickens are properly broiled and the trimmings 
all right. Yes, yes! amuse yourself with us. 
We'U take care of tourself and the chickens. 

" In any case, for the present, my special invitation is, (and 
my wife joins me heartily,) Don't come to dinner 1" 

We decline the ^^ special invitation," promptly 
and at once. Our convenience wUl not suffer us to 
accept. We regret, on account of our correspond- 
ent and his excellent wife, that we cannot, but cir- 
cumstances must control our action in the matter. 
We are, of course, grateful for this " special invita- 
tion," and we hope they AviU pardon us for declin- 
ing it. 



III. 



COUNTRY LUXURIES. 

We extend to you, sir, the right hand of invita- 
tion. But as only two can shake hands at once, 
my wife, who is all in white this morning, makes 
you a courtesy, and sends you her regards. If you 
could see her, sir, as she stands making you this 
modest obeisance, you would come, as with wings. 
You would be charmed through the air, as was Lo- 
retto's chapel. " Tell him also," she says, " not to 
wait for the spring chickens, but to come now ;" and 
so say I, her excellent husband, as she calls me; 
and I will add, that were we two indi\dduals, or 
even two very diverse individuals, instead of that 
consolidated unit which we are (though called from 
the paucity of language, Mr. and Mrs. Margin), I 
should still say come. I should mount the platform, 
and exclaim as the speech-maker did, in those three 
immortal words, at the laying of a corner-stone, " It 
will do !" Come. 

We have, sir, lamb chops, new potatoes, the 
round squash, peas if possible, and that delicate 
vegetable, powerful in its way, but still delicate, the 
young onion. How other people's onions may rel- 



28 Country Maegins. 

ish tliis year I know not, but ours have arrived 
just now at a youthful pungency that is very touch- 
ing. Boiled to a creamy tenderness, or cut up thin 
with vinegar, from the pure white globule (about 
the size, when cut asunder, of an English sovereign), 
they are alike admirable and perfect in their way. 
I use the word ■perfect, thoughtfully, for you can add 
nothing to the young onion ; or if you do, as in the 
more advanced onion, you have too much — an ex- 
cess; a wild and giddy nostril- dilating power; 
which, as I have just said, is loo much. Thanks, 
therefore, that things must grow, and not spring up 
into rankness in a single night. Why, sir, a young 
lady and her sister in the great city have just writ- 
ten to us that they are coming up this summer (a j our- 
ney of some hundreds of miles), expressly to have a 
good time with that delicate plant. I immediately 
repUed with my very best married man's regards, 
and conceiving it proper to make a few remarks, 
added the following : " I thank heaven that there 
are some people left in these latter days, who are 
willing and ready to eat onions. It is a good sign. 
It augurs well for the country. It will give 
strength and tone to the people — ^the onion — when 
aU other things may fail." 

When will you come ? It's a good time now, 
our hay being well housed, and nothing remaining 
of an urgent character. 

My 'father remarked the other day, that with one 
exception he had not succeeded in getting in his 



What A Beautiful Shower! 29 

grass mthout rain, in fifteen years. He usually be- 
gins on Monday, so as not to liave the eye-sore of hay 
in the meadow on Sunday. Accordingly, on Monday 
last, my father sent the men into the meadow, 
although the clouds were ready, at the very mo- 
ment, to drop with fatness. He merely remarked 
that it would have to be rained on, and the sooner 
the better. Before noon the grass was down, and 
so was the rain. A fine shower began about that 
time, and continued at intervals all day. My aunt, 
who had not been watchful of the grass-cutting, 
walked into my father's room, and taking a pinch 
of snuff, remarked in her pleasant and thankful 
way, " What a beautiful shower ! how good it will 
be for the garden!" "Yes," said my father, very 
briefly, " and for my grass, too." 

The little excitement being over, and the grass 
made into hay and under cover, we are now at lei- 
sure again. It remains, therefore, only to point you 
the way. But I hope, sir, you will not look for a 
vulgar and exact chart of the route; as, say, 
"Bungtown train 10 :20, stop at Bung, inquire for 
Bing, and find the same just round the comer." 
Horrid ! How excessively annoying to be booked 
in that way I Think, sir, of the nervous anxiety as 
to reaching station at the precise 10 : 20 ; then of the 
great trepidation as to where Bung is, the intense 
scrutiny of your watch and time-table, or, i^ your 
final despair, the hurried exclamations to the flying 



30 Country Margins. 

conductor, " Is this Bung ? Have we got to Bung, 

yet." 

I never do so. Wlien I travel (and the mood may- 
spring upon me at any moment), I kiss my wife 
good-lye between the eyes, and walk directly to the 
station ; . she, perhaps, trotting by my side, as I go 
off with easy strides, hoping, possibly, for more 
good-byes at convenient comers. "Well, sir, at the 
station I take the cars. That's all. I never ask the 
conductor where he is going, or when he expects to 
get there. I take it he understands his business. 
"We are going, — that is the great point: we are 
travelling. "When it comes night, or whenever I 
get tired, I motion to the conductor, in an easy way, 
to let me out ; and if there is no coach handy in 
that part of the country, perhaps I may walk ; but 
then I never programme to do so and so. I pro- 
gramme to do as I please, and as events shall deter- 
mine. 

I would say, therefore, Mr. Editor, in a general 
way, as to coming to dinner, take the cars. Or, to 
be entirely expHcit, take the cars for the country. 
After riding as far as you think proper, I should say 
stop, by all means ; and after taking bearings a little, 
look about for Small Bob. Kyou find Small Bob, you 
are in our neighborhood. Don't overlook that indi- 
vidual, or mark too harshly the width of his hat-brim. 
Small Bob, seeing a man of your comprehensive ap- 
pearance, will address you as follows : — " Is this" — 



Tell HIM TO Come. 31 

removing his hat-brim — " Is this the great city Edi- 
tor, come to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Margin ?" 

Of course, I need not indicate further. Only don't 
be alarmed at the dogs, as you come up the 
yard. If Bob is with you, you are safe. 

P. S. — Don't come to-day. We are in a revolu- 
tion — ^temporary, it is to be hoped. In fact, I sus- 
pect it's all to be for your benefit. But the fact is 
all the same, — we are housebreaking. Half a dozen 
strong women are about upsetting things, and busy 
in various burglarious operations. We are to dine 
on the piazza, and sleep as the strong women may 
provide. Perceiving that all things would soon be, 
as you may say, in a state of probation, I saved my 
portfolio early from the ruins, and have stolen 
away to a spare comer up stairs, to stop the press 
with this postscript. 

You would snule, sir, to see my young wife order 
her forces : now with a low tone of suggestion, or a 
hurried word of caution, and again with a cut-short 
oh I or an unstoppable scream, as some fabric 
is threatened with destruction : and the next mo- 
ment turning to me with a woman's composure, all 
calmness and greatness, saying — " Tell him to come. 
We will be ready." 

My father regards the event from a different 
point of view, rolling his thumbs, as he sits in his 
great chair, and looking sharply down the long vis- 
tas of piled-up confusion, or chaos, as he calls it. 

P. S. 1^0.2. — ^We have dined as arranged, on the 



32 CouNTBY Margins. 

piazza^ under the roof shade and the shade of the 
pines, and it was, as the little girls say, le-u-tiful. I 
alniost wished that we had sent our dispatch for to- 
day. We had the chops, the new potatoes, the 
young onions, and (forgotten before, but always 
immortal; I eat it three times a day) the black 
raspberry; and you, my aunt. Souchong. "We ^. 
GMS&edijunhett oho, called in the vulgar, "shp and 
go down;" and after dinner, I mounted the door-sill 
and made a speech, quite surprising myself with 
the youthful vigor of my remarks. 

During the speech, I put the question, sir, as to 
whether the great Editor shall now be iavited to 
come to dinner to-morrow, at say 1^ o'clock, and 
the result was a unanimous aye. 

This matter is, therefore, as the French say, jini. 

Yours, . 



" We shall have Iamb-chops, new potatoes, the round squash, 
peas, if possible, and that delicate vegetable, powerful in its 
way, but still delicate, the young onion." 

Say no more, our dear sir, we accept the invita- 
tion. "We won't wait for the spring chickens, or, if 
it's all the same to you, we'll reserve them for a fd- 
ture occasion. Lamb chops, young potatoes, the 
roimd squash and young onions, will do for the 
present. Mark, we say, for the present. "We post- 
pone, only postpone the era of spring chickens. 



Young Onions. 33 

Talking of onions reminds us of tlie times of old, 
wlien youtli sharpened tlie appetite, and exercise 
gave a zest to plain fare. How often have we taken 
a piece of bread spread with butter in one hand, 
and a spoonful of salt in the other, and gone out 
into the garden to eat bread and butter, with onions 
fresh from the ground. We have done this many 
a time when we were young, and the memory of it 
comes back like the shadow of a pleasant dream. 
Onions, young onions in particular, is our weak- 
ness. They are healthy, as well as delicious and 
savory vegetables. "We like lamb-chops ; we like 
young potatoes, we adore the round squash, but 
young onions is our weakness. True, they add no 
sweetness to the breath, but then let others eat them 
too, and there will be no trouble on that score. 

" Why, sir, a young lady and her sister in the great city have 
just written to us that they are coming up this summer (a jour- 
ney of some hundreds of miles) expressly to have a good time 
with that delicate plant." 

Strong-minded women, those who are not to be 
tyrannized out of their " young onions" by the poten- 
tates of fashion. Sensible girls, that go into the 
country to get free for a time of the bad atmosphere 
and worse conventional proprieties of a city life. 
Wni they come during the season of young onions, 
or will they wait for the spring chickens? Let 
us hear when they come, and we shall not take 
the least possible offence at being invited about the 
2 



34 Country Margiks. 

same time. "We'll encourage by our example the 
young lady and her sister in liaviag a good time 
with the onions. 

" My wife, who is all in white this morning, makes you a 
courtesy, and sends you her regards." 

We like white. It is the true color for a pure- 
hearted woman. It is the color of the robes that 
angels wear. It belongs to the spotless beings 
above, to the cherubims that circle around the great 
white throne. Let her always wear white of a 
morning. We accept her regards — we shall cherish 
them as sacred things — we would not forfeit them 
for worlds. 

" If you could see her as she stands, making you this modest 
obeisance, you would come as with wings. Tou would be 
charmed through the air as was Loretto's Chapel." 

We do see her in our mind's eye, not as "mak- 
ing" us "a modest obeisance," but as a calm and 
dignified woman, conscious of her own worth, her 
value, her purity. Her heart has not been chilled 
by contact with the cold world, nor her aspirations 
blighted by disappointment. On her cheek is the 
rose of life's summer, the flush of health and high 
hopes. May the rose bloom there for many a year 
— ^may the flush continue tDl life's close, and may 
that be far off in the fdture ; may children and 
grand-children be around her then, and may the 
tear of affection, as it falls upon her cold cheek, be 



New -Mown Hay. 35 

the last sensation tliat shall remind her of earth's 
cares. 

But we can't come " as with wings" — ^we are too 
substantial, too earthly, if you please, for that. We 
will come in the cars, and speak to the engineer to 
let on the steam ; but fourteen stone weight can't do 
much with wings. Nor can we go through the air 
like Loretto's Chapel. We have a natural tendency to 
sink, a downward proclivity as it were, when we step 
off from some high place upon nothing. Loretto's 
Chapel was transferred through a miraculous agency, 
but the age of miracles is past, and unless we can 
harness the power that moves tables, and makes 
chairs, and stools, and stands dance a jig together, 
into the service, we must perforce be content to go 
on land, and under the impulse of steam. 

" When will you come ? It's a good time now, our hay be- 
ing well housed, and nothing remaining of an urgent character. 
My father remarked the other day, that with one exception, he 
had not succeeded in getting in his grass without rain in fifteen 
years." 

You are quite right, our very dear sir. The best 
time to accept an invitation to a good dinner is 
always now. We are sorry the grass has been 
mowed. We want to swing a scythe again. We 
have done so once this summer. We want to rake 
and pitch; we have done that too. It was away 
out in old Steuben. We were passing a meadow 
where six men were mowing, marcMng forward like 



36 CouNTEY Margins. 

a platoon of grenadiers keeping step and stroke 
together, eacli swing of tlie scythe cutting down 
grass enough to fodder an ox. We climbed over 
the fence, and throwing our coat upon a swath, took 
down a scythe that hung on the limb of a thorn 
bush ; we felt the edge, and finding it keen, struck 
in boldly with the mowers. "We understood this 
busiuess once, and so long as our wind held out, 
kept up. But editing a newspaper is not calculated 
to make one enduring in the hot sun of July, ' and 
after mowing a bout, we surrendered. Baking was 
easier work, and we took an hour's turn at that. 
Then we pitched on a load and pitched it off, into 
the great bay in the barn. By this time we had 
taken a sweat that a steam doctor might envy, and 
we passed on our way. Do you remember when a 
boy at work in the hay field, how you watched the 
heavens, when the signs of rain were in the air? 
Do you remember how merrily the tree-frog piped 
along the fences ; how gently the wind stirred 
among the trees ; how fan-like it lifted the leaves 
upon the basswoods along the fences, turning the 
under side to the sun, and making the tree-top shine 
all over like silver ? Do you remember how, when 
the haze gathered in the air, a great circle surround- 
ed the sun, and how he became less and less bright, 
until he disappeared in the sky ? 

And then, do you remember when the small drops 
of a settled rain came falling gently around you, 
how you shouldered your rake, and marched to the 



A Kiss Between the Eyes. 37 

barn, and then, how you clambered on to the hay- 
mow, and hstening to the soothing sound of the rain 
upon the roof, you sunk away into the sweetest 
possible sleep ? 

Do you remember how you watched the clouds 
when a shower was coming up from the south-west? 
Did you note how the great black clouds came lift- 
ing their monster-shaped heads above the horizon, 
followed by others still more ogre-looking, until the 
van of the storm stretched in a long dark line 
across the sky? Did you note the flashing of the 
lightning, and did you catch the first deep growl 
of the thunder in the distance ? Did you hear the 
sound of the wind and the pouring rain, while the 
storm was yet at a distance, and did you look calmly 
from your bed of loose hay on the barn floor, upon 
the rushing waters, while the clouds were emptying 
their floods around you? "We remember these 
things, and we have never lost our respect for a 
settled rain, or a thunder shower in haying time. 

" I kiss my wife good-bye, between the eyes, and walk directly 
to the station." 

Without intending to be personal, you must per- 
mit us to say you are wrong, and the more we 
reflect upon the subject, the more convinced are we 
that you are wrong. Not in kissing your wife. 
One may kiss one's wife without blame. We like 
the practice — we do so ourself, occasionally. It 
serves to keep the affections warm and the heart 



38 Country Margins. 

soft. Nor do we object to yoiir walking directly 
to tlie cars, after kissing your wife good-bye. That 
may be done with propriety and safety. But what 
we protest against, is the kissing your wife good- 
bye " between the eyes." The practice is a bad one. 
Lips were made to be kissed after their owner has 
become a wife. The cheek of a maiden may be 
touched by the lips of a lover, but the lips of the 
wife should be the recipients of a husband's kiss. 
This is the true principle and philosophy of the 
matter, and we protest against any departure from 
the ancient and orthodox usage. 

" I would say, therefore, Mr. Editor, in a general way, as to 
coming to dinner, take the cars, or, to be entirely explicit, take 
the cars for the country. After riding as far as you think 
proper, I should say stop, by all means, and after taking bear- 
ings a little, look about for Small Bob." 

"We begia really to despair of this dinner. "We 
have made numberless concessions. "We have sur- 
rendered woodcock and snipe, wild-duck and veni- 
son, and settled down on spring chickens. "We 
subsequently conceded the chickens and took to 
lamb-chops, young potatoes, round squashes and 
young onions, and now we are in danger of losing 
even them. It's all very well to talk about taking 
the " cars for the country." The country is a large 
place. It lays all around Albany, and stretches a 
great way back. If we go north, we traverse 
Vermont. The cars go thundering through the 



Climbing a Mountain. 39 

gorges of the Green Mountains, "We went tliat way 
last summer. We stopped at a pleasant village 
squatted down in a beautiful valley, thxougli whicli 
flowed a cold pure stream, to fisL. for tlie speckled 
trout. But hundreds had preceded us, and the 
trout were all destroyed. We were told of a little 
lake that few had had the courage to visit, laying 
just over the ridge of mountains, where the trout 
were abundant. We started for that lake. Our 
course lay over Mount Tabor, one of the highest 
ridges of the Green Mountains. Blazed trees along 
a blind foot-path pointed out the way. We went 
clambering up precipices that seemed to have no 
summits, sweating and sweltering in a July sun. 
When we stopped to rest, the gigantic hemlocks 
that grew out from the rugged side of the mountain 
away down below us, going straight up towards 
the sky, presented their tall tops almost within our 
reach, so steep was the acclivity. We toiled on for 
hours and hours with slow and painful progress, 
till we entered a region of mist. The bushes were 
dripping with moisture, and so were we, still we 
toiled on till at last the summit was gained, and we 
sat down to rest amid the clouds on the bare top of 
Mount Tabor. It was cool enough away up there, 
and we waited for the mist to pass away. It did 
pass at length, and the prospect that opened upon 
our vision repaid a hundred-fold the toil of the 
ascent. There we sat thousands of feet above the 
level of the sea. Away off to the west lay Lake 



40 Country Margins. 

Champlain, stretcliing north and south for a hun- 
dred miles. "We saw two steamboats ploughing their 
way through the waters, while away beyond were 
the mountains of Essex, their bald heads piercing 
the sky, shining ia the sunlight like the glistening 
helmet of some giant warrior of old. Beneath us 
were beautiful valleys, winding away towards the 
leyel country to the south, with broad farms and 
green fields spread out, dotted with farm-houses 
and barns, and here and there a quiet village with 
church steeples going up from among the clustered 
houses. "We saw the long line of a railroad stretch- 
ing away towards Rutland, and a train of cars 
drawn by the iron horse dashing along on its jour- 
ney towards Rouse's Point. Towards the east was 
a dense forest standing in all its primeval grandeur, 
clothed in everlasting green, stretching away far as 
the eye could reach, with here and there a mountain 
peak toweriQg towards the sky. We sat there for 
an hour enjoying the cool breeze, and drinking in 
the grandeur of the landscape beneath us, and then 
passed on to the pond where the trout were said to 
abound. "We reached it in half an hour, and were 
repaid for our labor by two trout and a mud turtle. 
"We returned at night weary enough, but in the 
morning we remembered the vision from Mount 
Tabor, and were satisfied. 

If we go east, " the country" reaches all the way 
to Boston, the metropolis of the Bay State. If we 
go west, it reaches to Lake Brie, and beyond that, 



"Small Bob." 41 

thousands of miles, across vast prairies, and over 
the Eocky Mountains, to the great Pacific. If we 
go south, it reaches to the Empire City. Here "we 
are, then, afloat without a compass, wandering in 
a boundless wilderness, with no landmark save 
"Small Bob." And who, in the name of all the 
saints, is " Small Bob" ? Answer us that. Where 
are we to find him? What are his distinctive 
marks ? What is his complexion ; is it ebony or 
topaz ? Are we to wander all over the land, like 
Japhet in search of his father, inquiring after 
"Small Bob," and a dinner of lamb -chops, new 
potatoes, round squashes and young onions ? 

We can't do it; and we see the vision of gastron- 
omy fading from our view, as many a bright one 
has done before. We give it up in despair. Ah 
me! 



2* 



IV. 

KDITOR'S LATITUDE & LONQITUDE. 

I THOUGHT of you this morning, my kind editor, 
almost witli tears in my eyes. Crossing the high 
bridge over Roaring River, I came upon three boys 
lying flat on their bellies, their heads just over the 
edge of the bridge, shouting to a boy below, -who, 
with rolled-up trowsers, was seeking wildly for a 
mud turtle. The excitement both below and above 
was extreme. The turtle, in looking down, was in 
plain sight, floating about in quite shoal water, and 
evidently having a good time, now with his tail up, 
going down among the crevices of the rocky bottom, 
and then with raised paws, coming slowly up and 
skimming the surface. But to the boy below all 
was glimmer and confusion ; the dazzle of the sun 
and the ripple on the surface suggesting to him un- 
known depths, and his own eagerness to accomplish 
the feat making him almost frantic, set on, as he 
was, by the cries of the boys above, " There he is 
— oh, my gracious I Don't you see him ? he is com- 
ing right towards you — oh crackee! Catch him, 
Jim, catch him !" All this, I say to my experienced 
eye, knowing how perfectly safe that turtle was, 



FouETEEN Stone Weight. 43 

made up a scene of distress ia which I couldn't help 
exclaiming, " Oh that the editor was here I" For I 
remembered your experience in turtling, and that 
large men are always magnanimous and generous 
to boys. I counted, also, on your length (not 
breadth) of beam, for I take it, sir, you are a man 
of symmetry. Your "fourteen stone" weight, I 
do hope and trust, is not all laid out horizontally. 
Your downward tendency has not settled you into 
a rhomboid. You have height as well as depth ; 
longitude as well as latitude. You shoidd be, sir, 
at least six feet, in your stockings : for the sym- 
metries are as important to men as the graces to 
woman. Mental, moral, and physical — these are the 
symmetries ; and such is the effort of nature to make 
them always harmonize, that having one, we in- 
variably look for the others. If a man lack in alti- 
tude (the proportionate height, I mean), he will be 
short in something else. Inevitable, sir, inevitable. 
He will not be gifted in sunrises and large views ; 
though he may be good in trouting, and better stiU. 
at c^wS-bing. Some of the most patient anglers I 
know are those who, having seated themselves com- 
fortably on a river bank, find it exceedingly difficult 
to get up again. You, sir, should be six feet high, 
and well proportioned 

But why is it, I was going to ask — why is it, Mr. 
E(Mtor, that boys crave mud-turtle ? "Why hanker 
after the ugly ? For an eel or a bull-head — (I do 
not deny a certain beauty and philosophical bar- 



14 OouNTKY Margins. 

mony in tlie turtle — ^its life in its shell), but an eel or 
a Tbull-liead is a greater satisfaction to most boys than 
the handsomest trout you ever saw. There are 
people, also, who go about collecting strange bugs, 
beetles, snakes, spiders, and many-legged monstros- 
ities, which they carefully bottle and keep near them, 
as a kind of refreshment 1 U — g — ^h I 

And now, sir, I ask you, is there a sort of Young 
Harry in this, leading on to the Old Harry ? For 
there are older boys just as intent, just as eager, just 
as morbidly hungry for moral monstrosities, bot- 
tling all manner of vice and ugliness, and deformity, 
and cherishing them as something very delectable, 
something really new under the sun; and the only 
true facts and realities, as though hell itself 
were not already full of just that kind of mate- 
rial I 

As there is a love of the beautiful, so also there 
is a love of the ugly. I have fought hard and long 
against this conviction, but I believe it is true as 
Holy Writ, and the great mischief of our day is the 
practical unbelief in regard to this matter. 

A love of the ugly for its own sake — a love of 
vice with its sequents, and because of them, almost 
as though it were a pleasure to be damned. There 
are men in the world who seem to be haimted with 
the fear that they will see or hear of something 
pleasant, something beautiful, or good, and so be 
charmed by some hocus pocus, into a belief in the 
existence of such things. " Oh my vipers," they 



A Beautiful Morning. 45 

cry : " Oli my bugs, my snakes, my excellent big 
black spiders !" 

Nothing is more painful to such men than sym- 
metry, beauty, proportion. They seek always for 
the ugly, and they find it. No fear as to that. They 
are sure to arrive at the most hellish capacities, and 
it is rare that such men die without proving to the 
world the height and depth of their abilities in that 
line. 

The morning that we have to-day, under these 
heavens, is exceedingly beautiful. It would seem 
that on such a morning, everything that hath breath 
would be saying — Hallelujah, hallelujah, amen, hal- 
lelujah ! But it is safe to say that the Prince of 
Darkness, and his legions, whether here or else- 
where, have had no voice in these utterances. 
Their partialities are aU. "the other way, the other 
way ;" they love the ugly. I have no liking for 
the freedom with which some people talk of that 
Great Creature, that " archangel ruined," who is 
now making such terrible havoc in the world, 
showing his hand of late with so much boldness 
and success, and claiming allegiance upon the very- 
score of his supreme hideousness. I am not dis- 
posed to make light of him, but I trust there is no 
harm in offering it as my long-settled conviction, 
that if this " murderer from the beginning" had 
ever, by any mistake, made a pleasant morning like 
this, he would have hung himself before breakfast. 
Yes, sir, he.would have hanged himself high, un- 



46 Country Margins. 

less, indeed, he might have gone mad in the first 
glance at its beauty and glory. 

But Grod made the morning — ^thanks to His Great 
and Holy name. God made the morning, and in 
this is the hope of the world. 

I did not expect to be so grave, Mr. Editor, for 
there is a time and place for such topics, and I fear 
you may think I am out of both. Permit me one 
last word about our dinner. I have been thinking, 
sir, that if you start out alone, you may be charmed 
away by some inviting vista, and never find us. 
Your passion for mountains might be too much for 
you. We should hear of you, perhaps, clambering, 
coat off, and hat in hand, up some neighboring 
height, making speeches to the clouds and the coun- 
try at large; or possibly — and quite possibly, too — 
stopping somewhere for a sunrise. I am coming 
after you, therefore, myself. 

Yours, . 



" I take it, sir, you are a man of symmetry. Tour ' fourteen 
stone ' weight, I do hope and trust, is not all laid out horizon- 
tally. Tour ' downward tendency ' has not settled you into a 
rhomboid." 

Men's notions of symmetrical beauty differ. 
Tastes, on that subject, take a wide range. Some 
admire long men, reaching away up like a liberty 
pole, a thing to hang flags on, on the Fourth of July. 
Length has its conveniences, we admit. It's a good 



Thk Standard of Beauty. 47 

thing in clierry time. One can pick the fruit handi- 
ly from the remote branches. Others prefer hori- 
zontal dimension, a spreading out sideways. It 
gives an appearance of substantiality, of solidity. 
We never quarrel with people's tastes. De gustibus 
Tion disputandwm, is our motto. We insist that it 
is a wise one. If the standard of beauty were fixed 
at six feet and upwards, what would become of the 
short men and women? For ourself, we are not a 
" rhomboid." We have more than four sides. We 
have been accused of having had at least twice that 
number in politics alone — with what justice "history 
must determine." All we say on the subject is, we 
never had but one political side — at a time. We 
admit that politics has " made us acquainted with 
strange bed-fellows." We entered upon political 
life with certain fixed principles, and as we affirm, 
have stood fast by them. Parties fluctuate, or 
rather circulate, revolve, go round and round. 
We being fixed, it is not singular that we should 
have come in conjunction with all parties, in their 
revolutions. True, the world differs with us on 
this subject, and says that we have been circulating 
— visiting different party orbits in our course. That 
we deny, and surely we ought to know the real 
truth of the matter. 

" You should be, sir, at least six feet in your stockings." 

True, we should be, but we are not by a long 
shot. Doubtless it was originally intended other- 



48 COUNTBY MAEGINS. 

wise. We -were meant for a six-footer, but we got 
spoiled in some way in the maldng up. It was a 
great misfortune, we admit, but by no system of 
ethics can it be charged against us as a fault. What 
a man does, he should be held accountable for. He 
should be held answerable for what he is, if he 
made himself such by his follies or his vices. The 
Deity made men right. He gaye them the power 
of choice in their course of life. He placed good 
and evil before them, and left them free to choose. 
The consequences of their choice were not hidden 
from them. All around the good were scattered 
peace and happiness, joy and gladness in this world, 
and the promise of happiness in the world to come. 
The evil was beset with sorrow. Yice carried its 
chains, to be fastened upon its votaries. A troubled 
life, a barren and hopeless hereafter, were the re- 
wards it promised. Between these utter divergents 
lay the destiny of men ; and, strange infatuation, 
transcendent folly, the evil has an army of followers, 
in comparison with which the good can reckon only 
a corporal's guard. 

" The symmetries are as important to men as the graces to 
women. Mental, moral, and physical — ^these are the symmetries ; 
and suchia theefifort of nature to make them always harmonize, 
that having the one, we invariably look for the others." 

Doubtless this is all true in theory, but not so 
clearly sustained by facts. Let us look around us 
and see what are the demonstrations. Ohalmees 



The Milk in the Cocoanut. 49 

was a man of small stature, and lean proportions, 
but wliat divine equalled him in mental power, or 
excelled him in moral qualities? Who has not read 
with rapture his matchless sermons, replete with 
thrilling eloquence and grandeur of rhetoric, his 
"thoughts that burn," his profound and original 
conceptions? One can almost imagine himself soar- 
ing amid the stars, far' away in the blue vault of 
heaven, traversing the milky way, and diving be- 
tween the rings of Saturn, while reading his astro- 
nomical discourses. Newton was a man of medium 
stature, and yet in intellect almost a god. Instances 
may be multiplied of great men with bodies by no 
means proportionate to the giant dimensions of their 
intellectual stature. The true theory probably is, 
that there is a secret balance between the intel- 
lectual and physical, which depends not so much 
upon length of bones and size of muscle, as upon 
a proper connection and* development of organ- 
ization. 

" If a man lack in altitude (the proportionate height, I mean), 
he will be short in something else. Inevitable, sir, inevitable." 

Excellent. This accounts for the milk in the 
cocoanut. "We are a living demonstration of the 
truth of the theory. Lacking in the requisite alti- 
tude, we, of necessity, must be short somewhere. 
"We have been so all our life. "We have been short 
in the pocket, short in bank deposits, short in 
abihty to meet promptly incoming bills. In short, 



60 Country Margins. 

we have been troubled all out life with the shorts, 
and here is the reason of the thing — ^we lack in 
length of body. Well, it's a pleasant thing when 
one enters upon a fight, to understand the casus 
belli, to understand the origin, the why and the 
wherefore of a thing. We have a friend who is 
" six feet in his stockings," and well proportioned, 
and he never had a bill protested in his life. We 
didn't understand how it could be, till we measured 
his height, got him to stand up by the ceiling, stuck 
a knife just even with his crown, and then got on to 
a stool and measured. It was six feet and an inch to 
the floor. Our friend always has his "pockets full 
of rocks," and it is all owing to his altitude. 

" Some of the most patient anglers I know, are those who hav- 
ing seated themselves comfortably on a river bank, find it ex- 
ceedingly difficult to get up again." 

This squares with our own observation. We have 
in our mind's eye a notable example, what the 
lawyers would call a case in point We returned 
last week from an angling expedition to the moun- 
tains of Pennsylvania, away up among the sources of 
rivers. We saw the spring from which the Genesee 
takes its rise. It comes out of the ground in a 
stream large enough to propel a mill wheel, and 
starts at once on its returnless voyage to the majes- 
tic St. Lawrence and the ocean. Beyond was a 
high ridge over which we passed, and then stepped 
across the remotest branch of the Alleghany that 



Sources of G-eeatEivers. 51 

travels west to the OMo, and then to the great Fa- 
ther of Waters, and so along down by New Orleans 
to the Mexican Gulf. Beyond again was a ridge 
higher still over which our road lay, and there we 
came to the head waters of the Sinnemahoning, 
that travels through great forests towards the Sus- 
quehanna, and finds its final passage to the ocean 
through the Chesapeake Bay. By the way, wOl any 
body tell us how these great springs, that go to 
make up these rivers, get up here on these high 
mountains? We have read about capillary attrac- 
tion, and ths pressure from above that forces them 
through, and finally out of the ground, to flow away 
to the ocean obedient to the laws of gravity. We 
don't want to hear or read any more of that, for we 
don't believe it. There is not rain enough falling 
on these mountain ranges to supply evaporation! 
and these springs that gush in such volume from 
the ground, that come welling up in a flood day and 
night, week days and Sundays, always. But we 
got to the Sinnemahoning, in the woods, in the 
middle of a vast forest with only little clearings at 
long intervals along the valley through which it 
flows. Here we stopped for a week to fish for the 
speckled trout, and have a pleasant season of com- 
munion with nature in her old-fashioned dress. We 
do not intend to enter upon description of the 
scenery here, we reserve it for another occasion. 
We had with us two friends — the one a clergyman, 
to whom we refer as an example of patience in 



52 Country Margins. 

angling. He is one of a thousand, a Christian man, 
one fit to be trusted with the care of souls ; but he 
is neither a zealot nor a bigot ; of a cheerful, but 
contemplative spirit, with a mind profoundly stored 
with varied reading, he can appreciate as well as 
tell a merry anecdote, and perpetrate as well as 
enjoy a jest. He was a most patient angler. He 
would sit for hours under the shadow of some great 
tree on the bank of the little river, by the side of a 
deep hole, watching with patient assiduity his hook, 
as it floated in the water. If the fish were minded 
to bite, it was well ; if not, it was just as well. There 
was the bait and the hook, the line and pole, and 
he was ready to draw them out. If they chose to 
remain under the logs and drift-wood, regardless of 
his tempting offers of a grasshopper or a worm, it 
was not his fault. Where you left the dominie, 
there you woidd him find, until the sun came round 
and drove him to another deep, stiU place, where 
was a bank and a shade, with the pleasant song of 
birds about him. He was not a very successful 
angler, but his cheerful countenance spoke of the 
pleasant memories, the bright day-dreams, the cheer- 
ful thoughts that were clustering aroimd his heart, 
as he sat there in the cool shade, angling in a trout- 
less eddy. 

But he is not a "short" man ; he is " six feet in 
his stockings," and had«to stoop as he entered the 
door of the pleasant little dwelling where we stopped. 
That dwelling is in a little clearing of some twenty 



A Sensible Conclusion. 53 

acres surrounded by forest, and liigli mountains, 
with, tall peaks running up towards the sky, behind 
which the sun hides himself for hours before he 
finally goes down to his lodging-place for the night. 
"We fishermen had our -wives along, and they were 
so merry and contented, while we stayed, that we 
acquiesced in the name given it a year or two ago, 
and called it the "Saint's Eest." 

" And now, sir, I ask you, is there not a Young Harry in this, 
leading on to the Old Harry ?" 

Very possibly, although the generally-received 
opinion, we think, is that the elderly gentleman 
spoken of, has most to do with such matters. He 
is said to be exceedingly busy in his vocation, and 
takes quite as much interest in the young as in the 
elders of tbe h\mian family. Indeed, many think 
that his policy is to induct mankind into evil ways 
at an early age, so that as they advance ia life, they 
give him less trouble by their ability to sin without 
calling upon him for aid in the furnishing of temp- 
tations. 

" Permit me one last word about our dinner. I have been think- 
ing, sir, that if you start out alone, you may be charmed away 
by some inviting vista, and never find us. Tour passion for 
mountains might be too much for you. * * * * I am coming 
for you, therefore, myself." 

A most sensible conclusion to an excellent ser- 
mon. That's what we call a practical climax, leav- 
ing a pleasant sensation on the mind, to aid in the 



54 Country Margins. 

digestion of a discourse. "Well, come along. "We'll 
be ready. "We're not particular about tlie day or 
the bouT, only let it be a week day, and not Friday. 
That's a bad day — a day when they hang people ; 
a day fuU of evil omens. AH the bad luck we 
ever had was on Friday. "We fell into the Crooked 
Lake on a Friday, and were so nearly drowned that 
we never knew, save from hearsay, how we got out. 
"We were upset in a stage coach, and had our nose 
knocked to one side, and our wrist sprained on a 
Friday. "We were in the railroad cars when a col- 
lision took place ; we were fast asleep at the time, 
and the shock pitched us headforemost agaiust a 
lady who sat fast asleep in front of us, and whose 
husband threatened, in his ignorance of the collision 
(for he had been asleep too), to do us serious bodily 
damage, on account of our involuntary rudeness — 
all this was on a Friday night. Our house was 
burned on a Friday night, and two as noble stag 
hounds as ever followed the trail of a deer, perished 
in the flames. They were shut up in the wood-shed 
adjoining, and were suffocated before the flames 
were discovered. "We never enter upon any new 
imdertaking on a Friday. "We form no new ac- 
quaintances on that day. "We never accept an 
invitation for a Friday. We did that thing once 
"long ago," and we upset a capital dish of roast 
venison, covered with delicioTis gravy, in our lap. 
"We had to send home for a pair of pantaloons, to 
don in the place of our white ones, spoiled by the 



Don't come on Friday. 55 

misadventure. We liave a theory on tte subject of 
diurnal influences, and laugMng at us won't induce 
its abandonment. We point to tlie facts, wbicli to 
us, at least, are liistory, as evidence of its truth. 
Don't come on a Friday ; something would surely go 
wrong, to mar the pleasure of a new acquaintance, 
and spoil a good dinner. On any other day, we say 
in the beautiful langauge of the poet — 

" Walk along, John." 



V. 

A FRIEND FROM THE OLD DOMINION. 

If yoTi do not hear from me soon again, Mr. Edi- 
tor, you may consider that I am taking a rest. Per- 
haps (as I remarked yesterday to my tall friend, 
L. P., of the F. F. V.), perhaps you carry too many 
guns for me. Perhaps you blow away my posi- 
tions, and symmetrical arrangements, too easily. 
Certain it is, that pleasantly as we have chatted 
together over our peas and young onions, you have, 
of late, grown upon me into a kind of overshadow- 
ing greatness. Besides, August has come in upon 
us with great force, and for a space now, I must 
rest. On the first day of the month, and among 
the first of those hours which I include in the 
morning, I was rounding a pleasant dream up stairs, 
when there was a vigorous knock at the front door. 
Springing from bed, I put on my dressing-gown, 
and with unshod feet went down the stairs and 
opened upon — the first event of the day — my Rev. 
friend and quondam from a neighboring State, whom 
I had not seen for many years. Our mutual bewil- 
derment in gazing upon each other, was almost at 
the point of awkwardness. He, so clean and clerical, 



The Eeveeend Friend. 57 

so firm and close-buttoned ; and I, like a ragged 
cloud, all wild and loose. He; wlio, ten years ago, 
had been spare-bodied like myself, and with eyes 
full of that intense sensibility with which some 
people go mourning about the world, was now 
round and compact ; and I, who had been thin and 
spare, now thinner and sparer stiU. His face, 
which, like mine, had been sharply triangular, now 
presented a projection and squareness of chin, which 
implied, that let the world roll how it may, he was 
ready for it. Eeady for to-day and for to-morrow, 
and for next week, buUt up, expanded, consoli- 
dated. 

My friend seated himself comfortably by an open 
window, and gravely searched about me for some 
reminder of his old acquaintance ; finding, however, 
only ruin and waste, with an occasional feeble flash, 
like sheet lightning, telling of storms gone by. 
And I couldn't help thinking there was something 
exultant in his gaze, as he saw all this change, and 
that hollow other-world look, which might have 
checked him, one would say, from coolly remark- 
ing, as he did, that, positively, if he had met me in 
the street, he should not have known me. 

Perhaps not; probably not. But accustomed as 
I am to hear people say — " My dear Margin, how 
well you are looking," I was taken a little aback. 
Leaving him the freedom of the parlor, I returned 
to my chamber, exclaiming to the world, sotto voce, 
"Don't, my dear people, oh, don't let us be too 
3 



58 COUNTEY Mabgins. 

practical in a world like tliis." And I freely con- 
fess to you, my dear Editor, tlie eflPort of getting 
ready for breakfast that morning was more of a 
labor than I have had for many a day. I didn't 
pretend to shave, and my endeavors at getting my 
hair straight were, for a long time, as Longfellow 
says, " All in vain, all in vain." My young wife, 
however, during this time, was bracing me up, this 
way and that, and trying to put me in shape. 
"Pray," said she, "what does Aeknow about you? 
Why, my dear husband, you are younger now than 
you have been for years. You are I Yes, for years. 
Please don't hurry ; your cravat is all one side ; 
yes, for years I Why, everybody tells you you are 
better — ^wait a moment; your coat; yes, better a 
great deal ; and you know you are /" 

Strengthened, and built about in this way, I came 
down to breakfast, prepared to demolish my stout 
friend instantly, if he continued his vein of remark. 
But, whether owing to the juvenile look which Mrs. 
Margin had given me, or to a deep feeling of remorse 
on his part, we had no further collisions. My friend 
stopped only for an hour, barely touching upon us, 
as he said, on his way home. But it was the touch 
of a strong mind in a strong body, carrying me off 
as with a whirlwind. I foxmd myself, in a little 
while, bowling away with him to your city, and 
whirling and speeding through times past, times 
present, and the great time to come. Swift as flew 
the wheels in that lightning train, were our ex- 



L.P.oftheF.F. V. 69 

changes, shuttle-wise, of the great prominences in 
our last ten years. Nothing was too great for us. 
The roar of the train, and that outrageous scream 
and blast of the steam- whistle, were as trifles to us ; 
for we were piped up higher than that, and in a 
%vider range, discussing as we did, not our affairs 
only, but the pressing interests of the great world, 
winding up, of course, with the Thirty-nine Articles 
and the prospects of the Universe. An hour after 
reaching your city, we parted; he, stronger than 
ever; I, ready to descend rapidly into reactions. 
Strolling along, feebly, by the Marble Pillar, I looked 
wishfully over to No. 46 ; but weak as I was from 
my one stout friend, I couldn't think of meeting 
another. Not all our pleasant exchanges, sir, could 
tempt me to cross that street. 

In this collapsed condition, I came home in the 
afternoon, to dinner and repose. About that time, 
also, came a shower opening the very windows of 
heaven ; and after dinner, over which we lingered 
lovingly, just as the shower ceased, somewhere 
about foiir to five o'clock, there was another knock 
at the door, and behold — second event of the day, 
and tall contrast to him of the morning — ^my great 
friend, six feet four and three-quarters, L. P. of the 
F. F. V. ! Yes, sir, my great friend and refresh- 
ment, as you may say, from the Old Dominion. 
AJl through that shower, he had been on our bor- 
ders, in a shanty, on the farther side of Roaring 
River, waiting for the floods to subside. And now 



60 COUNTEY MaeGINS. 

here lie was, in all his extreme length, and with that 
rich full voice, which, without loudness, could be 
heard all over the house. I had to turn him around 
twice in the hall, to enjoy him in different lights, 
and at all points. My young wife came forward to 
meet him, almost with a shout, and I some expected 
to see him bend down, and leave an impression 
upon Mrs. Margin; which, however, he did not, 
but talked a continual stream of music and delight, 
at the state of things now arrived at. 

"Well, sir, he has been with us three days, and 
he grows taller every day. Taller in our esteem, in 
our heart's regard, and in our determination to keep 
him, if possible, to the full extent of his furlough. 
Having preached four sermons a week, for the last 
ten months, now, he says, is the time for rest. 
Duhe est desipere in loco, and what loco like thife (so 
he flatters me) with his friend, Mr. Margin, whose 
appreciation of rest has reached a perfection scarcely 
to be found, perhaps, ia all the round world. Now 
for easy chairs and the piazza, the book and the ham- 
mock ; or rather, the hammock without the book — 
(books are a nuisance), At this moment, he is 
lying at fuU length on the parlor sofa, smoking a 
cigar. He is calHng to me now, and his voice has 
to travel around through the hall and two door- 
ways, but comes with perfect distinctness. 

"I say, Margin — " 

"WeU, whatisit?" 

"Did I tell you about the little boys?" 



EisingSun. 61 

(Wtile I was napping yesterday, my friend walk- 
ed down to the Rising Sun, a village in tlie north- 
east, and there surprised another Virginia friend 
and rector, and was passed about like a bottle of 
old wine with the cork undrawn, Ms friend holding 
him stoutly by both hands, while he presented him 
to some half dozen ladies and two clergymen, who 
were present) 

"Did I tell you about the little boya ?" 

" No. What about the boys ?" 

"Why, sir, there were four of them, and they 
followed me all about the streets !" 

"Yes?" 

"Yes; and what do you suppose they were 
after?" 

" A penny, perhaps." 

" No ; because I heard some of their remarks. ' I 
say, Jim,' said one, 'did you ever see any thing 
like that?' 'Crackee!' says another, 'just look at 
him!' And the rascals followed me, sir, to the 
very door of the rectory." 

My friend having unburdened himself of this 
matter, relapses again into silence, though I dare 
say he is smoking vigorously, and not unlikely, 
may continue talking the whole matter over to 
himself, for some time to come. If I was nearer, I 
should hear, perhaps, fragments of speech thrown 
out with considerable force, such as the rogues ! the 
scamps I the young rascals/ but not unkiadly, for 



62 Country Margins. 

all fire and power as he is, he has a heart (as they 
say out "West) " as big as an ox." 

And now, Mr. Editor, I will say good-morning, 
remarking, as once before, that I am not now in the 
marginal way. "We design — my friend and I; I 
say we design — or rather, we do not design. That 
is the beauty of it : plans and designs are laid aside. 
"We rest now, and wait for events. All things of 
easy approach shall be welcome. Nothing more. 
Cigars that smoke easy, we shall smoke. Dinners 
that are patriarchally simple, and not distracting in 
temptations, we shall have from time to time — ^in 
fact daily ; unless we may arrive at that happy per- 
fection of the ideal when a day witJwut dinner may 
seem to be the maximum of easy enjoyment, in 
which case we shall not dine. Cigars and easy 
positions will be the general order, with occasional 
short and celestial remarks. The great point will 
be not so much to do things, as to let them be done. 
"While we pause, the morning and evening will con- 
tinue as usual : sun and shade, and rains and night- 
dews, and the great world to whom they are sent ; 
these all wiU come and go, roll about, migrate, 
fluctuate, and so forth, but as pictures only to Mr. 
Margin and his eminent friend L. P., of the F. F. V. 

Meantime my young wife, who has finished her 
jellies — ^in which seraphic employment, with short 
gown and up-roUed sleeves, she has been busy for 
so many happy days — she, I say, will join us at 



Taking a Rest. 63 

times, waking \is from too long naps with some 
pleasant song, or suggesting occasional novelties, 
all in keeping with our sublimated Ufe. Of course, 
if occasion requires, we shall preach to the people 
roundabout ; but we hope there will be no occasion. 
After our four sermons a week, for the last ten 
months, we feel more like pardoning everybody 
out and out. I say we feel more like this, as sailors 
say, letting things go by the run : but, of course, 
it's wrong ; we are aware of that, and if called upon, 
we shall hope to be ready. But it would be 
as wise, perhaps, to let us alone just now, for our 
style is not of the mealy-mouthed kind. No, sir, 
and may God preserve me from any levity in this 
matter : we preach, as my father says, death, jvdg. 
meni, and eternity. 

Once more, Mr. Editor, good-morning; and till 
we meet again, good-bye. 

Yours, . 

" If you do not hear from me soon again, yon may consider 
I am taking a rest." 

Don't do that, our dear sir — don't do it. Don't 
take a rest. There's something sad in the idea of 
taking a rest; something that speaks of decay, of 
energies exhausted, of life-springs drying up. To 
us the words come freighted with no pleasant mem- 
ories. We had an ancient friend long ago, a 
rough specimen of a man, but every inch a man — 



64 CouNTEY Margins. 

one of nature's nobility — ^honest and straightfor- 
ward as truth itself, whose good opinion we lost for 
a time by " taking a rest." He was a man of eccen- 
tricities, of idiosyncrasies, if you please, and it cost 
us years of effort to get back into our old place in 
Ms regards. "We said he was a rough specimen of 
a man, but he was one of giant sympathies and a 
big heart. He was a man of the back settlements 
and the woods. He was a mighty hunter, and the 
game he sighted might count itself as lost. He 
loved his friends, and was proud of them. He 
loved his rifle and his dogs. He loved the old 
woods and mountains, and the wild streams. He 
was older by a score of years than ourself, but 
the icicles of age never gathered around his heart, 
and the coldness of growing years never chilled the 
genial warmth of his nature. He has passed to his 
rest now, and sleeps quietly under the shadow of 
thick foliaged maples on a little knoll selected by 
himself. Calm be thy slumbers, mine ancient 
friend, and happy thy long future in the world to 
come. He loved his rifle and his dogs, and his 
heart was ready to embrace the man who loved the 
tangled forest-paths, who loved to hear the music 
of his hounds upon the mountain, and to bring 
down the flying deer. A marksman himself, he 
was ready to love the man who could equal him in 
skill with the rifle ; and to be his superior was a' 
surer passport still to his affections. 

On a Christmas day, long ago, when we were 



Turkey Shooting. 65 

younger by many, many years, than we are now, 
we went to a gathering, known among tlie border 
villages as a shooting match. Turkeys were the 
prizes contended for. A plank was placed at some 
five and twenty rods distance, with a hole in it, 
through which was thrust the head of the turkey, 
while his body was secured behind it. At this 
mark the sportsmen fired. If blood was drawn, the 
marksman was entitled to the turkey. Each com- 
petitor paid a small piece of money before taking a 
shot, which went to the owner of the turkey. 
Well, we were there with our rifle to take our 
chances with the rest for a Christmas dinner. A 
number of marksmen had preceded us, and we 
ourselves had failed in a shot or two, when it was 
proposed to " take a rest ;" that is, to lay down with 
the rifle resting upon a block properly arranged, 
and in that position take sight and fire at the head 
of the poor bird. Its owner had already pocketed 
twice its value in shillings, and he consented to the 
arrangement. The block was placed in position, 
and the first shot fell by lot to ourself. Among 
hunters in those days, taking a rest either at living 
game or a dead mark, was a violation of all the 
proprieties of woodcraft. It was opposed to all rule, 
a practice which, if largely indulged in, would cost 
one his position among sportsmen, and the regards 
of every true hunter and woodman. As we said, 
the first shot fell by lot to ourself, and we were 
about taking our position, when we felt a hand laid 
3* 



66 OouNTBT Margins. 

upon our slioiilder. Turning, we saw our old 
friend standing beside us, leaning upon his long 
rifle. We had not noticed him before. "Don't do 
it," said he; " Sam, don't do it — ^never take a rest, 
stand up like a man, and fire off-hand ; if you miss, 
you can't help it, and nobody blames you, but 
never take a rest." His voice sounded more in 
sorrow than in anger, but we saw that his confi-. 
dence in our woodcraft was shaken, and his esteem 
for us as a hunter fading away. 

We did stand up and fire off-hand, and the head 
of the turkey was shattered by our ball. That shot 
did much towards calling back to us his wandering 
regards, but it was not until we had hunted with 
him, and brought down many a noble deer in his 
company, that the impression of our weakness in 
" taking a rest" was effaced from his mind. We 
admonish you, therefore, o\ir very dear sir, in the 
language of our ancient friend, "Don't do it, never 
take a rest. Stand up like a man, and fire off- 
hand. If you miss, nobody blames you, but ' nev- 
er take a rest.' " There's a moral ia the admoni- 
tion, a moral and deep philosophy in the advice. 
Always, and at all times through life, whatever 
temptations may beset you, however misfortune 
may darken around you, yield not a foot to the 
tempter, bend not a joint to misfortune, but " stand 
up like a man and fire off-hand." 

" On the first day of the month, and among the first of those 
hours, which I include in the morning, I was rounding a pleas- 



FiBST Song op the Lark. 67 

ant dream np stairs, when there was a vigorous knock at the 
front door." 

Served you right, our dear sir, right, to a dot. 
What right had you, you, blessed with intelligence, 
eyes to see, and ears to hear, what right had you to 
be " rounding a pleasant dream up stairs," when all 
nature was awake, joyous, fuU of gladness, chaunt- 
ing the songs of the morning ? And in the country, 
too ! Talk not of " pleasant dreams up stairs," of a 
summer morning. There's no such paradox in na- 
ture. Dreams, indeed ! In the crowded thorough- 
fares of city life, the thronged streets and clustered 
houses, where the air is poisoned by the smoke of 
ten thousand cooking-stoves, and machine-shops, 
and gas-factories, and forges, and the thousand vil- 
lanous smells that exhale from the haunts of con- 
densed civilization, " a pleasant dream up stairs" of 
a morning is within the range of conjecture, but 
such a thing in the country would be a libel 
upon nature. No, no! Thank your stars that 
a worse, evil did not befall you. Why, our 
dear sir, you should have been up when the 
first bright gleam of the morning glanced upward 
from behind the eastern summits. You should 
have heard the first song of the lark, as he leap- 
ed from his perch, and went carolling joyjully 
towards the sky. You should have seen the 
last stars as they retired from their watch, passing 
away into the depths of the heavens. You should 
have watched the mist that went up in the gray 



68 CouNTBY Margins. 

twiliglit, from "Eoaring Eiver," and faded like a 
vision in the air. You should have seen the first 
ray of the sun, as it lighted upon the tops of the 
mountains. You should have looked away to the 
east, and seen the sun, like a great torch, hanging 
for a moment in the tree-tops, and then noted how 
gloriously he leaped forward into the clear sky. 
You should have seen the dew-drops, sparkling like 
diamonds on the grass blades, and heard the wild, 
free song of the birds in their gleefolness. You 
should have snuffed the pure air, loaded with the 
fragrance of flowers, and the freshness gathered 
from the fohage of the woods. With these things 
all around you, you should have looked away to 
the Providence that spread so rich a feast; to the 
God that made the morning, and all the beautiful 
things that belong to it. 

" Yes, sir, my great frieind and refreshment, aa yon may say, 
from the Old Dominion. All through that shower, he had been 
on our borders in a shanty, on the hither side of Bearing River, 
waiting for the floods to subside, and now here he was, in all 
his extreme length, and with that rich, full voice, which, with- 
out being loud, could be heard all over the house." 

Strange reunions— r-meetings of old friends under 
curious circumstances, sometimes take place. Years 
may have fled away, events may have hurried us 
along, changing us in position, in appearance, in 
feelings, in temper, in all things. Suddenly an an- 
cient friend is thrown across our path, and our 



A Good Teout Stream. 69 

youth, the long, long past, comes rushing with his 
presence around us. The present vanishes, and we 
are again among the pleasant memories of the olden 
time. 

Some years ago we were at Blosburgh, in Penn- 
sylvania. "We went there ostensibly to view the 
coal mines. The entrance to these mines is mid- 
way up a mountain of some fifteen hundred feet in 
height, along the base of which the Tioga Eiver 
flows, which is here but a good-sized trout stream, 
in the summer season. "We went up to the entrance 
of the mines. "We saw a great dark hole in the 
side of the mountain, into which our companions 
entered, and were lost to sight in its cavernous 
depths. For ourself, we have no taste for dark 
places and deep holes in the ground. "We never 
enter a cave. There 's something dismal and sepul- 
chral about them. They smell* of mortality. "We 
should expect to see skulls grinning at us, and to 
stumble over dead men's bones. "We keep clear of 
caves. We preferred trout fishing, to groping 
around in the damps of the mines, away in the car- 
bonized bowels of the hiU. "We came down to the 
river, and borrowing a rod and line, started up 
stream, with a view of fishing down. "We travelled 
a couple of miles along a pleasant path that follow- 
ed the windings of the river, and then rigged and 
threw for the trout. They were plenty in those 
days, and we were having a good time of it all 
alone in the woods, notwithstanding the affectionate 



70 Country Margins. 

attentions of the mosquito and the black-fly, that 
phlebotomized us after a fashion peculiar to them- 
selves. We were busy hauling in the trout and 
fighting the mosquitoes, and as we came roimd a 
great boidder, bigger than a haystack, that thrust 
itself from the bank half way across the stream, 
there we stood face to face with an old friend that 
we had lost sight of for a dozen years. " Hallo I 
Harry," said we, "where on earth did you come 
from?" "And from what cloud did yowdrop?" 
was his reply, as we shook hands most cordially. 
- We sat down upon that old moss-covered boulder, 
and talked of the days of Old. We were school- 
mates in our boyhood. We were students in the 
same law of&ce, were examined in the same class, 
for admission to the profession, returned from Al- 
bany, with our licenses in our pockets, together, 
and the week after such return we shook hands and 
parted, swinging out in different directions into the 
world. For a year or two we heard of him occa- 
sionally; then darkness settled down between us, 
and we heard of him no more till we met in the 
middle of the Tioga Eiver, at the spot where that 
big boulder stands so boldly out into the stream, 
each with a fishing-rod in his hand. The world had 
gone well with him. He had gathered largely of 
its treasures. He was a man known on 'Change. 

We parted the next morning, never to meet 
again. Consumption laid its withering hand upon 
him. He crossed the great ocean, in the hope that 



Eetuening Home to Die, 71 

the genial climate of tlie South of Europe would 
bring back health and vigor to his frame. He vis- 
ited Italy ; spent a few months at Rome, and then 
passed on to Venice. But the grasp of death was 
upon him, and he turned his feeble steps towards 
home, in the hope of dying in the midst of his kin- 
dred. He died on the ocean ; and he now sleeps in 
a New England churchyard, where his fathers 
sleep. He was the only son of his parents, and he 
left no children. 



VI. 

A CHAPTER FOR THE SABBATH. 

My tall friend is gone. Even now, as I -write, he 
is speeding on over the long iron tracks, to the 
Blue Eidge of the Old Dominion. The round 
•week — seven golden days — ^he staid with us, find- 
ing some rest, we trust ; but now all this is of the 
past. By-gone, so soon I Pictures all, so soon! 
Oh, the swift certainty of to-morrow; for however we 
may pause, God has always something for us to do. 
He, who doth neither slumber nor sleep, how kind- 
ly, how safely, he takes us all on through the night, 
into the beautiful morning ! 

My friend, sir, was in great demand. All our 
choice arrangements for repose were of small ac- 
count. And as life flies by now-a-days, perhaps it 
is well. "We should make no long steps now, for 
there is little time for rest here. Time enough for 
that — ^to those who shall attain to the true life — 
when they shall have shaken off these working 
garments and put on the white robes; when the 
lame shall walk, and the blind see, and the deaf 



AGood-Bte to the L. P. 73 

hear; when their halting frames shall be clothed 
anew with strength and with glory, and their pal- 
sied tongues find voice in the acclamations of that 
great host, "which no man can number." Time 
enough for that, when the night cometh, that no 
man can work. When from groping through these 
swift-roUing years, they shall see, at last, face to 
face, and walk in the light of God for ever ! Time 
enough for repose, in that great time to come, the 
time beyond all time, the ^eat circle, the round 
time, when they shall have gone up to dwell for 
ever with their master and their king, their Saviour 
and their Redeemer, Jesus Christ the Righteous ! 

But now, oh how swiftly speeds the world I No, 
it is not the place for rest. " My Father worketh 
hitherto," said Christ, "and I work." No, it is 
neither the place nor the time for rest. Nor is it to 
be found here. Health itself, life itself, subsists 
only in action, change, accomplishment. This tire- 
less spirit, as it came from God, so in some measure 
Hke Him, it scarcely can slumber or sleep, even 
here. 

Time has been when, owing chiefly to physical 
causes, we have loved rather the life of thought and 
meditation ; but the union of both — ^meditation and 
action — ^is the true life, both here and elsewhere. 
The good deed, the kind word, the helping hand in 
the right way — ^and when these are impossible, the 
bended knee in the silent chamber, the use of that 
power that "moves the arm that moves the uni- 



74 Country Margins. 

verse ;" these axe the agencies — these are the pow- 
ers that be. To whom these are possible, all else is 
but wind and ashes. 

A man may float in deep water, motionless, by 
looking straight up to Heaven ; but he must look 
out for the heavy seas. In fact, he can float no- 
where, save in the still water, and at best, it is but 
floating: balancing, as it were, between life and 
death. To make headway, he must strike out right 
and left, pull and pusfi, and reach on contin-vially : 
and, moreover (to finish this matter), it is mostly 
your good swimmers only who can float. 

Make no long stay, Mr. Editor, in any " Saint's 
Rest"* you may find here. The world rolls too fast 
now for long pauses. As in youth the days were 
long, and in age they seem to take wings for their 
travel, so the world of to-day, as it quickens and 
concentrates thought and action, quickens and 
shortens the minutes, the hours, the days and the 
weeks, and the round year itself: so that we can 
look forward to some approximation to that life in 
which, even to xis, " a thousand years may be as 
one day, and one day as a thousand years." 

Good-bye, my tail Virginian, and may God pros- 
per you for ever, and make aU your days as pure 
as the sunlight, and as bright. Good-bye — ^but come 
back again — will you? Gome back in the golden 
October, and wake us again with your clarion 
tones. John Knox, as he preached to the assembled 
* See Appendix B. 



Bishop Hebek's Poetry. 75 

royalties of Scotland, could not more have startled 
our sleepy souls, than did your ringing cadences 
last Sunday night. Come back, and rouse us from 
the dull inaction of this hum-drum life. Come 
back, and leave a few coals of your Southern fire on 
our Northern altars, and cry aloud to us, " Awakci 
thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and 
Christ shall give thee life." 

Yours, . 



" He who doth neither slumber nor sleep, how kindly, how 
safely, he takes ns all through the night into the beautiful 
morning !" 

"We never think of the good Providence that 
watches over the world, in the stiU hours of the 
night, without connecting with the thought a beau- 
tiful little hymn, of which we think Bishop Heber 
was the author, although of this we are not certain ; 
a hymn so full of the pure spirit of poetry, as well 
as devotion, that we venture to give it here : 

Hark ! 'tis the breeze of twilight calling 

Earth's weary children to repose : 
While round the couch of nature, falling 

Gently the night's soft curtain's close. 
Soon o'er the world in sleep reclining. 

Numberless stars in yonder dark. 
Will look like eyes of seraph's, shining 

From out the veil that hides the ark. 

Guard us, oh thou that never sleepest — 
Thou that in silence throned above ; 



76 CouNTBY Margins. 

WLo through all time, unwearied, keepest 
Thy watch of glory, power and love. 

Grant that beneath thine eye securely. 
Our souls from life a while withdrawn. 

May in the darkness, stilly, purely, 
like sealed fountains, rest till dawn. 

Strange linMng of memories I Speaking of 
Bishop Heber reminds us of an anecdote of tlie ex- 
cellent Bishop C . We were in New York 

soon after Trinity Chnrcli was completed, in com- 
pany witli tlie lamented John Young, late Gov- 
ernor of this State. We visited the church to- 
gether. We found, upon entering, a venerable 
man, who stood near the centre of the great aisfe 
looking with apparent rapture upon the gorgeous 
and imposing architectiire of the interior of that 

magnificent structure. It was Bishop C . The 

Governor was acquainted with him. After a frank 
and cordial greeting, the good Bishop remarked, " I 
have been thinking," said he, "how different our 
place of worship was when I first became the rector 
of a parish in what is now my diocese, from this 
splendid edifice. It was a little building, half 
school-house and half church, and cost less than 
five hundred dollars. Yet we were a happy and 
united people, and, I sometimes think, more piirely 
devotional and pious than we were at a later period, 
when we worshipped in a vastly more costly 
church. It always seems to me that pride enters 
somewhat too largely into the devotional exercises 



Great and Glorious Truths. 77 

of a place like tliis ; and I think of tlie lines in one 
of our beautiful liymns : 

" Say, shall yre worship with costly devotion, 

Odors of Eden and offerings divine, 
Gems from the monntain, pearls from the ocean, 

Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine ? 
Vainly we offer each ample oblation, 

Vainly with gifts we his favor secure : 
Bicher by far is the heart's adoration. 

Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor." 

There was something infinitely impressive in the 
earnest and solemn, yet simple manner with which 
the good Bishop repeated those lines. They con- 
tained, as he spoke them, a whole sermon — one that 
went to the heart with far greater force and direct- 
ness than many we have heard that were vastly 
more studied and elaborate. 

" Bicher by far is the heart's adoration. 

Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor." 

Great and glorious truths, all ! Infinite goodness 
could alone have sent them forth to the world, to 
give comfort and hope to man. What if we be 
poor and of mean estate ? Our hold on heaven is 
stronger than theirs who dwell in palaces, and are 
clothed in purple. When misfortune and sorrow 
gather around us, when desolation comes down 
upon us like a flood, and destruction sweeps away 
the little we may have gathered of the world's goodsj 
when we look forward to a helpless age and see no 



78 Country Margins. 

promise of provision for its dreary hours, when the 
heart sinks before the darkness of the future, then 
comes the soul-cheering truth, fresh from the 
throne of God, a voice speaking from the cloud 
that encompasses us, 

" Richer by far is the heart's adoration, 

Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor." 

" And as life flies by now-ardays, perhaps it is as well that we 
should make no long stops, for there is little time for rest here." 

Aye I " March on I" is the order of the universe, 
now ; no halting by the way — ^no pausing to reckon 
with the past, or calculate the future. The world 
is in motion. A rest under the shadow of tall 
trees, by the bubbling fountain, leaves you behind. 
The great army passes on, and you are reckoned, 
as you are in fact, a laggard in the race of life. 
Look back for only a quarter of a century, and see 
the mighty stride that the world has taken. Where, 
then, were the iron roads over which the locomotive 
now thunders on his mission of civilization — where 
the telegraph that mocks at time and annihilates 
space? Hark! there are new sounds breaking the 
stillness of night, and startling the mountain echoes 
from their sleep of ages I It is the scream of the 
steam-whistle, the snort of the iron-horse, the deep 
rumble of his long train, freighted with human life, 
rushing with lightning speed, shaking the ground 
like an earthquake, as it moves along. A new 



OldMemoeies. 79 

sight is seen on the ocean. It is the tall ship that 
goes forward when the air is still, and calmness is 
on the face of the deep — ^that moves forward in the 
eye of the wind, forward still in the face of the 
storm — ^that turns not from its course for billow or 
blast. It is the ocean steamer, that makes but a 
ferriage of seas, that comes and goes over the great 
deep regardless of wind or storm. These are but 
types of the mighty progress of civilization within 
that quarter of a century. Look back again to the 
scenes of your boyhood. Where are the landmarks 
that you loved, the pleasant things around which 
cluster the memories of youth ? Where the tall 
forest tree that was spared when the old woods 
were swept away? Where the clustered plum- 
trees, the wild hazles, the willows along the brook, 
the maples that shaded the spring that came out 
from among their roots ? Gone 1 all gone ! The 
old school-house and the play-grounds — ^the path 
across the fields that led to them — ^where are they ? 
Gone again, all gone ! The friends, the companions 
of your youth — ^where are they ? A voice comes 
out of the deep silence of the grave, from the ocean, 
from the far-off city — from beyond mountain 
ranges, bearing the solemn answer — 

" They are scattered and parted by mountain and wave, 
And some are in the cold, silent womb of the grave." _ 

Where are the high hopes, the lofty aspirations, 
with which we started in our young career? 



80 CouNTBY Margins. 

Gone, all gone ! wrecked by tlie liand of disease laid 
heavily upon us. "Wrecked by the hand of death 
that tore from us the joy of our being and the 
treasures of our hearts. "Wrecked by disappoint- 
ment in a thousand forms, that beset us in our path 
of life. 

Yes, yes, onward and onward is the word- Ev- 
erything is moving. Childhood passes to youth, 
youth moves onward to manhood, manhood to old 
age, and the grave devours them all. If we pause, 
even to linger by the graves of the loved and the 
lost to us, the tramp, tramp, of the world is heard 
passing us. If we fall, its onward tramp is over us 
as it hurries along in. the forward movement. Like 
a mighty river, the tide of human life, the current 
of human progress, flows on, pauseless and steady, 
swelling in volume, moving forever and ever to- 
wards eternity. But what of that ? Better to float 
on with the tide, than to pause in the turgid eddies, 
and stagnant bayous, even though our course be 
over beetling precipices into the boiling whirlpool 
beneath them. On the spray of the cataract hangs 
the rainbow of promise. It is the sign of redemp- 
tion, the seal to the covenant of God, that he will 
rescue us from the troubled waters, and take us to 
his "house not btult with hands, eternal in the 
heavens."" 

" Good-bye." 

How many emotions cluster around that word I 
How full of sadness, and to us, how fuU of 



The Last Farewell. 81 

sorrow it sounds! It is witli us a consecrated 
word. We heard it once wittin the year, as 
we hope never to hear it again. We spoke it 
on an occasion such as we hope never to speak it 
again. It was in the chamber of death, at the still 
hour of night's noon. The curtains to the windows 
were all closed, the lights were shaded, and we 
stood in the dim and solemn twilight, with others, 
around the bed of the dying. The damps of death 
were on her pale young brow, and coldness was on 
her lips, as we kissed her for the last time while 
living. " Grood-bye, my daughter," we whispered, 
and " Grood-bye, father," came faintly from her dy- 
ing lips. We know not if she ever spoke more, but 
" Grood-bye" was the last we ever heard of her sweet 
voice. We hear that sorrowful word often and 
often, as we sit alone busy with the memories of the 
past. We hear it in the silence of night, in the 
hours of nervous wakefulness, as we lay upon our 
bed thinking of the loved and the lost to us. We 
hear it in our dreams, when her sweet face comes 
back to us, as it was in its loveliness and beauty. 
We hear it when we sit beside her grave in the 
cemetery where she sleeps, alone, with no kindred 
as yet by her side. She was the hope of our life, 
the prop upon which to lean when age should come 
upon us, and life should be runniag to its dregs- 
The hope and the prop is gone, and we care not 
how soon we go down to sleep beside our darling, 
beneath the shadow of the trees in the city of the dead. 
4 



VII. 

ROARING RIVEK. 

How are you now, my friend? Eejoicing, no 
doubt, on tliis first wave of coolness and strength. 
But liow were you in the late solstice ? Sitting, as 
we now do, by fires, morning and evening, it seems, 
like looking far away into the depths of last sum- 
mer, and yet it is but one short week. Midway of 
that solstice, came our young friends Snowdrop and 
Honeysuckle, from a down-river margin, and with 
the ease and grace of maidenhood, melted at once, 
into our quiet ways ; took attitudes, at once, all iu 
keeping, and were properly silent and musing for 
so solemn a time. Pleasant pictures — Snowdrop 
and Honeysuckle — and good for warm weather. 
But not so our friend Powerful, who came with 
them ; he being not at all adapted to such high 
ranges of the mercury. Too fiery and precipitous. 
Why, sir, he had the madness to go into argument 
before he had been ten minutes under our roof; 
and this, when earth and sky were panting and 
breathless in that hot blast. And my private opin- 
ion is, (I must tell you, sub rosa, that I like Power- 



Stop Every Thing. 83 

ful, in toto, fire and all, for lie is equal to about sev- 
enteen of the common young men of these times), 
but I haven't a doubt that he had been in argument 
all day. How else, and owing to his plunging na. 
ture, and my quick sympathy with it, ffor I jump 
to all humors,) how else could we have tumbled 
out of that train as we did, while carpet-bags came 
after, through the windows, and oxir two large 
trunks, in the hot haste, slipped fizzing away into 
the sides of the north, and all the people laughed at 
our confusion ? 

Let that pass, for the trunks came back the next 
day, and three days later the cool winds northwest- 
erly. But then, in view of what might happen with 
Powerful in the house, and of what was happening, 
the hot, white, quivering sunlight pouring down 
day after day, I issued the following general order : 
" Eemember the weather, my people, and be wise. 
Propositions are vain, and arguments all out of 
place. This day avoid controversy and shun dis- 
putation. Argue with no man, or woman. If you 
find a sitz-bath, sit down on it, asking no questions, 
but don't go spying about. Stop every thing that 
can be stopped, and let us rest. Stop talking, stop 
thinking, stop eating, stop drinking, stop walking 
up and down the room ; and in fine, retire as far as 
possible into a vacuum, and there remain until the 
north wind blows again." 

My next grand proposition (for the general order 
was scouted all over the house) I brought forward 



84 Country Margins. 

as modestly as possible, merely holding it forth, as 
a stray thought which had occurred to me, to wit : 
chairs in Roaring River — ^under the bridge, sir. In 
the shoal water, you know, say about waist deep, 
and there to sit, making short remarks, and waiting 
for the wind to blow. The Editor was to be in- 
vited, and we were all to form a circle there and 
talk up ancient events — aU in chairs in Bearing 
Eiver. I say ancient events, for I should know 
you instantly : you would be to me as an open vol- 
ume — a folio of rare value — all in chairs in Eoaring 
Eiver. Small Bob would bring us the proper re- 
freshments; sweet milk loaded with ice and one 
brown cottage loaf, and water from the well, from 
the old oaken bucket, sitting all around in State 
editorial — all in chairs in Eoaring Eiver. 

But what strange mistiming of nonsense was all 
this, sir, when men were dropping dead in the 
streets of our cities (as the swift lightning soon re- 
ported to us), not in twos, and in threes, but in tens 
and twenties, and in hundreds ! And stiU comes 
the report from a far Southern city — two hundred 
■ dead, to-day. 

There 's a time for work, and a time for play, 
says the old adage. But a startling question some- 
times presents itself, as to whether the world has 
not outgrown its play-time, leaving us the work 
only. Certainly there is not much play-time, now, 
to the people of that plague-smitten city. 

Two hundred dead, to-day I Gone away, that is to 



WiiEKE ARE WE Going? 85 

say, to try another mode of living ; another mode 
of acting ; another mode of thinking. No, not that. 
For as a man thinketh, so is he. And as a man dies, 
so he remains. Whatever moral pestilence he dies 
with, he takes with him. Whatever poisoned gar- 
ment he has on, is his forever. He can ship it to no 
foreign market ; and if he cries it at auction, no 
man will buy. Nor will fire burn, or the moth 
consume it. Like himself, it is immortal. 

But Tnove on ! say you ; and move on 1 shouts the 
world. Oet out of the way. We cwrUt stop here over 
a dead body. 

No, indeed, but oh my friend, where are we going? 
Where, and under whose orders? Who has the 
command, in this case? Who is Ofi&cer of the 
Night ? for the look-out, just now, is like that of 
night, rather than the light of day. I don't know, 
sir, about this onward movement, until we establish 
quite well what we are about. I must be posted on 
this, before I make the first step. To cast about, 
with whatever vigor, or with whatever hopefulness 
that all wUl be right by-and-bye, will in nowise 
modiiy the ultimate fact ; and this ultimatum I must 
not guess at, but know. 

For motion, sir, is not life. Momentum is not life. 
It is a power, or rather it is a result, but it is not 
life. The iron horse that leaves your city in the 
early morning and takes his last refreshment this 
side of Buffalo, somewhere before sundown, has 
traversed some hundreds of miles ; but he has only 



86 Country Margins. 

changed places; and tMs he has done, only by 
clinging to the rails. Take away his hold upon 
earth — ^his grasp from the iron bar — and though his 
wheels may flash with a whiz, and his pipes sputter 
and scream to the verge of madness, he will not 
have moved forward a hair's breadth. A grasshop- 
per shall sit square before his driving-wheel, and 
laugh at him aU the day long. 

No, sir, 45 miles an hour takes no man nearer to 
Heaven. If we are to march on, let us know the 
way, and the country whither we go. We have but 
one day before us, and by night we must rest some- 
where, if possible. It would be sad, after a hard 
day's work, to find no welcome, no glad face to meet 
us, no news of home, of rest, of peace, no cheering 
voice to hail us, through the deepening gloom, — 
^'AU right I This way, my friend 1 All right I " 

Not to hear this, but to take our wearied limbs 
on into still deeper darkness, and be conscious, sud- 
denly, that we are lost — that we have taken the 
wrong way— this would be sad, it would be ter- 
rible. Yours, . 

" Chairs in Roaring River, under the bridge, sir. In the shoal 
water, you Isnow, say about waist deep, and there to sit, making 
short remarks, and waiting for the wind to blow. The Editor 
was to be invited, and we were all to form a circle there, and 
talk of ancient events — aU in chairs in Boaring River — Small 
Bob would bring us the proper refreshment, sweet milk loaded 
with ice, and one brown cottage loaf, and water from the well 
from the old oaken bucket, sitting all around in state editorial, - 
all in chairs in Roaring River." 



Mountains and Rivkrs. 87 

We should not have accepted that invitation. 
We love rivers. We love to look upon them as 
they flow on forever, and yet are never wasted 
We love to inquire how it can be, that their cease- 
less current, that always has been and always will 
be moving away and away towards the ocean, should 
never be exhausted? To ask of science how they 
gather their constant, unfailing supply, and why the 
ocean, into which all these gigantic tributaries pour 
their mighty floods, never overleaps its bounds? 
To ask philosophy, by what subtle machinery the 
far-off fountains that come out from away up among 
the mountains, are fed with fresh water forever? 
Why they always bubble up in the same place, and 
run away in the same channel to make up these 
great rivers ? We like to look upon the bubbles 
that float along on the surface of the water, and see 
them burst and vanish away. We like to watch 
the spray that goes up from the cataract and the 
turbulent rapids, and the mist that rises from the 
broad, still current. As the river moves along at 
our feet, never pausing, finding no resting-place in 
its ceaseless flow, such, we say, is the tide of human 
life. The bubbles that float upon its surface are 
the hopes of man. The spray and the mists are his 
cherished plans and schemes of life. The bubbles 
burst, the spray and the mists vanish away, but the 
river moves on to the ocean. 

A pleasant place for meditation is " Roaring 
River," but to sit waist deep in its waters, beneath 



88 Country Margins. 

the shadow of the bridge, does not comport with our 
philosophy. There is romance, doubtless, in the 
matter, but it is not our kind of romance ; and hot 
or cold, sunshine or a cloudy sky, let the mercury 
range high or hide itself in the bulb, " we'll none of 
it." If we must needs " sit around in State editorial 
— all in chairs in Roaring River," we should claim 
the highest seat, the longest legged chair — one in 
which we could sit with our feet on the top round, 
clear of the water. We would not mind being a 
good deal doubled up, drawn together in a heap like, 
for the sake of the company and the refreshments, 
but we should cut the concern, vamose when the 
water began to come into our boots. 

" Two hundred dead, to-day." 

WeU, what of that ? Remember we speak not 
for ourself. Ours is not the voice of a disintegrated 
atom, an individuality. We speak for the world, 
for aggregated humanity, and we say what of that? 
Think of the physical suffering that wrung the joints 
of these "two hundred dead" before the spirit left 
them. We answer again, what of that? Is physical 
suffering a new thing under the sun, to startle us by 
its cry of angviish, and make Tis to pause by the 
way-side for its contemplation ? Think of the sor- 
rows, the tears that are wrung from the living, the 
broken hearts, the crushed hopes that followed to 
the grave these " two hundred dead, to-day." Again 
we repeat, what of that ? Is sorrow a new thing on 



All Aboard! 89 

the eartli? Are broken hearts strangers to the 
world, or crushed hopes a novelty ? Talk not to us 
about physical suffering or mental anguish — ^what 
are they to us? we have no time to listen. The bell 
rings, the steam whistle shrieks, " All aboard 1" cries 
the conductor, and we are off on the train that 
never returns — ^the cars that are always running the 
same way. And herein is the singularity of this 
railroad of life — there is no return train. The travel 
is always in one direction. The world is moving, 
every living thing is whirling with a rush towards 
the great terminus, and of all the countless millions 
that have travelled that road, not one has ever re- 
turned. Strange fascinations, wonderful attractions 
must that country have, from which no traveller 
ever comes back. 

But there are "two hundred dead to-day," say 
you. As an individual, we can comprehend the 
. vast amount of suffering, the aggregated anguish 
that pervades the stricken city, ^he plague is no 
respecter of persons. It strikes every where. The 
rich, the poor, the high, the low, the respected, and 
the despised — ^the mother that breathes out her life 
in the arms of her children, and the forsaken, that 
dies by the way-side. The pestilence smites at 
random every where. Here is a gorgeous hearse, 
followed by a long train of mourners ; the dead is 
going to his rest beneath the shadow of a tall monu- 
ment in the cemetery. Handle the cof&n tenderly, 
the ashes it contains are precious — jar it not rudely. 
4* 



90 Country Margins. 

There, is a deal coffin, alone on a rude cart, on its 
•way to tlie Potter's Field, the resting-place of the 
desolate. Ask you who goes thus solitary to a 
nameless grave ? The heartless song of the official 
that sits upon his coffin, answers, 

" Battle his bones over the stones, 
He's only a, pauper that nobody owns." 

The spirits that once breathed in these human An- 
tipodes, are immortal. They have gone to be judged 
at the same bar, under the same law, and to stand 
side by side in the presence of the Judge, who looks 
straight into the heart, and &om whose vision 
nothing can be hid. What a lesson is here ! Take 
care, oh! rich man, look to it — ^that the despised 
pauper, whose dust is in the Potter's Field, is not 
chosen of God, while you, whose ashes are beneath 
marble that is inscribed with a lying epitaph, are 
rejected. 

"Whatever moral pestilence he dies with, he takes with him. 
Whatever poisoned garment he has on, is his for ever. He can 
ship it to no foreign market, and if he cries it at auction, no 
man will buy." 

The moral leprosy of the soul, if uncured by the 
"healing waters," clings to it throughout eternity ; 
stripped as it may be of physical atoms, the plague 
spot remains. The miser who barters salvation for 
treasure, who seUs Heaven for gold, carries with 
him his thirst for gain, which remains raging and 



The Waters of Health. 91 

quencliless for ever. The debauchee who defied 
God, and scorned the restraints of His law, finds 
in his burning lusts the hell he scoffed at. The 
naurderer looks upon his spectre hand, and sees 
upon it the redness of the blood he has spilled. 
His awakened conscience, as he wanders an impon- 
derable shadow in the region of banished souls, is 
the torment of his eternity. The sin that is unre- 
pented of is a fiery and hissing serpent, coiling 
around the soul for ever, as the serpents coiled 
around and crushed the Laocoon. But what of 
that? For this moral pestilence, there is a cure. 
For the leprosy of the soul, there is a healing balm. 
The blood-stains may be washed away, and the 
spirit of man be re-clothed in a spotless garment. 
A voice from heaven calls to the leper ; speaking 
from the throne of God to the pestilence stricken, it 
cries : " Ho ! every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
the waters ; and he that hath no money, come ye, 
buy and eat — ^buy wine and mUk, without money 
and without price." In' these waters there is health. 
This wine and milk will charm away the pestilence, 
and cleanse from the mark of the plague. They 
are free. "Wealth cannot purchase them, power 
cannot grasp them, strength cannot control them, 
kings cannot command them. The earnest soul 
that asks will receive them; the earnest seeker will 
find them. They are at the door of the penitent 
everywhere. Poverty is no bar, weakness no pre- 
vention, obscurity no impediment to the enjoyment 



92 CouKTBY Margins. 

of them. Strange, then, tliat men should die of 
moral pestilence, or pass into eternity with a poi- 
soned garment wrapped around them. That they 
should turn away from the healing waters • that 
they should reject the wine and mUk so freely 
offered ; that they should be deaf to the call of the 
helper, to the ten thousand invitations of the Good 
Physician, urged every day and every hour of a 
lifetime. Man, oiily, can be guilty of such madness 
and folly. 

It would be sad, after a hard day's travel, to find no welcome, 
no glad face to meet us, no news of home, of rest, of peace ; no 
cheering voice to hail ns through the deepening gloom, "All 
right ! ihis way, my friends — all right!" 

If we have secured seats in the right car, and 
our tickets are all regular, we shall find a welcome, 
we shall meet glad faces — ^we will find a home, and 
rest, and peace. When the night comes, a cheering 
voice will hail us, through the deepening gloom, a 
kind hand will guide us to our eternal habitation. 
There is no guess work, no uncertainty about this ; 
it is all fixed as the purposes, inamutable as the 
promises of God. But we must see to it, that we 
take the right train. The conductor we know. His 
protection is sureJ He wUl not deceive or forsake 
us. "What he promises he performs. Have no ap- 
prehension about that. Lean upon Him, trust Him, 
follow His direction. He will carry us safely and 
surely to the end of our journey. When we cross 
the dark valley of the shadow of death, He wUl be 
with us. We shall hear his pleasant voice as time. 



Mile Posts by the "Wayside. 93 

and the tilings of time, the world, with its troubles 
and its sorrows, pass away, welcoming us within 
the gates of the city of God. There we shall have 
a place of rest, where weariness can never come 
where age cannot visit us with its infirmities ; where 
death cannot rob us of our heart's treasures. Care 
and sorrow cannot enter there. Tears are never 
shed there. Angels wUl be around us. The spirits 
of the loved ones that preceded us, will be around 
us. There are no summer heats to oppress, no 
winters cold to chill us, no night of darkness, no 
day of storms. Calm, and quiet, and peace reign 
forever there. Years and months, the seasons, days 
and hours, are all unknown there. Forever is writ- 
ten upon all things. 

What matter, then, how soon we accomplish our 
journey? Nay, if we are in the r^ght car, Avill we 
not cry to the good conductor, "Faster, faster still, 
press on the steam, wait not for the night of age, 
for the going down of the sun ; land us safe in the 
great city at noon, or even in the morning of life ?" 
"Why should we tarry by the way ? Why sigh as 
we pass along, and the beautiful things of the world 
fall behind us, and vanish in the distance ? Things 
more beautiful await us at the end of our journey. 
Why start we, as gray hairs whiten our heads, the 
brow becomes wrinkled with age, and stiffness takes 
hold of our limbs, and the steps become slow and 
careful? These are but the mile-posts that stand 
by the wayside, to tell us that our weary journey 
is drawing to its close. 



VIII. 



HOW POEMS LOOK IN PRINT. 

"We send you, sir, today, three maidenly court- 
esies and a poem. The courtesies you may keep, but 
the poem we want returned, in large and handsome 
type, so that we may see how the thing looks in 
proper attire. It has been in type once, some years 
ago, but in such a way as to make a very sorry 
appearance. 

We all want copies — Snowdrop, Honeysuckle, 
Powerful, Mrs. Margin — and I can't tell how many 
distant cousins and friends ; including the strong- 
minded young ladies, who have not yet arrived. 
Send therefore, as Col. T. used to say, send a quan- 
tity, marked " Country^ — care of Small Bob, Roaring 
River." 

Our friends being about to return to their home 
in the mountains, we desire to part fair : and as a 
last expression suitable for a time of good-byes, we 
put argument aside, and join hands over this little 
poem. Here it is : 

As the rocks in moantain rapids 

Become islanded with ice, 
So our stony hearts snrronnd them 

With the rough, hard mail of vice. 



ALittlePoem. 95 

Then we say it's cold — though snimner 

Airs float roand us, soft and warm ; 
Then — though skies are blue and cloudless — 

That all life is but a storm. 

Doubtless : and the special wonder, 
Not that life doth craze or pall, — 
But, this Death in Life while under, 
How or why we live at all. 

If no finger on the dial 

Of this world points how to live. 
It were well to make the trial 

What the next may chance to give. 

Haply something else than sadness, 

Want, and woe, and o'er and o'er 
Lost and crime, and Hell's last madness. 

Something less, or something more. 

Haply some bright world of beauty, 

Peaceful, glorious, heavenly fair, 
Where dwell only God and His angels : — 

What, — oh what wouldst thou do there ? 

Scorner, — thou, who having eyes 

And ears, art yet both deaf and blind ; 
Ever to whom, doth only rise 
The pictures of thy own dark mind. 

If the world is bad, improve it ; 

Poor and suffering, heal and give ; 
Forget not there is one above it ; 

Seek thou that, and thon shalt live. 



96 Country Margins. 

But, thou weary one, who bearest 
All the burden of the day — 

Mock'd, derided, yet forbearest, 
Holding stoutly on thy way ; 

Ailing, thirsting, starving, fettered. 
Dogged at, from thy very birth, — 

Ah, until the world is bettered, 
Thou hast but one friend on earth I 

But that Friend— oh, wondrous glory ! 

Angels and archangels bend. 
To tell the worlds the matchless story 

Of the love of this thy Friend. 

Ask, and trust aU things to Him ; 

The day, however long, must close ; 
Welcome the night, or dark, or dim. 

For thou shalt find repose. 

Yours, 



" The courtesies you may keep, but the poem we want return, 
ed in large, handsome type, so that we may see how the thing 
looks in proper attire." 

la regard to the " couxtesies," we can, of course, 
keep them, and -we can return the poem in the 
manner indicated, but we do not altogether like the 
manner in which we have been treated in this mat- 
ter. When we started with our friend " Maegins," 
we set out solely with a view of having a little 
friendly chat with him by the way, which chat we 
took for granted would be held in honest old-fash- 
ioned English prose. We had no idea that we were 



Briefs not Plenty. 97 

to be confounded by the use of unknown tongues, 
or led a dance through the mazes of poetry. Time 
■was when we strung rhymes, and thought that we 
were Byronic in our versification. We have given 
up that idea years ago. The occasion of our cut- 
ting the society of the muses was this : — ^We had a 
good many leisure hours on hand when we com- 
menced the practice of the law. Briefs were not as 
plenty as blackberries with us, and we undertook 
to fill up the time between them by literary efforts. 
"We resided in a flourishing village then, which re- 
joiced in a neATspaper published weekly. Through 
the columns of that paper we poured our effusions 
for the benefit of the reading world, securely hid 
as we supposed, behind a nom de plume selected 
from the most celebrated names of the olden times. 
But this is an envious world. It cannot bear to see 
merit working its way upward. Genius will be 
hawked at, and if possible brought down to the 
level of plodding humanity. It was so with us. A 
very particular friend of ours undertook to criticise 
our poetry. And he cut, and slashed, and belabor- 
ed, and ridiculed our effusions and ourself in a man- 
ner in no way pleasant to the feelings of a very vain 
young man. The worst of it was, his criticisms 
were, in the main, just. He succeeded in satisfying 
the world, so far as our poetry and his criticisms 
were read by it, that we would never become im- 
mortal in that line. "What may be regarded as still 
more singular, he satisfied ics of the same fact. "We 



98 CouNTRV Margins. 

cut tlie muses, and for twenty odd years have not, 
save on two or three occasions, undertaken rhyme. 
Some three or four years ago, we listened to GouGH, 
the celebrated and eloquent temperance lecturer. 
As one of the causes which induced habits of intem- 
perance, he spoke of the convivial suppers some- 
times indulged in by young men — ^feasts where the 
wine flowed freely, and the song, the story, and the 
merry jest accompanied the circulation of the bottle. 
He said he never saw or heard of these convivial 
feasts without imagining that they were got up by 
the " gentleman in black " for the purpose of en- 
snaring victims, and that he always thought he 
could hear his demon laugh above the bacchanalian 
revelry, and see the print of his hoof among the 
broken glass upon the floor. Indeed, he said he al- 
ways regarded them as dinners given by Satan to 
his followers, to confirm them, in his service, and he 
could, at such times, almost see him sitting with his 
horned head, dragon tail, and cloven hoo^ at the 
table, encouraging the revellers in debauchery. 
From that lecture, we returned to our ofiice, and 
indited the following. We had never any idea of its 
publication, and it would not have been given for 
the edification of the world now, had not our friend 
" Margins " cornered us by his effusion. On him, 
therefore, rests the responsibility. 



The Gentleman in Black. 99 



FEAST OF THE "GENTLEMAN IN BLACK.' 

" The man in black" made a feast one day, 

A dinner for all his friends, 
And he sauntered about to invite them out 
To taste of his dainties, and dance at his rout. 
And stuff themselves with tender regoutte ; 

For, says he, " the devil's to pay." 



He got him a priest to preside at his board. 

And he grinned when he sat him down, 
For I ween, says the devil, a whining priest 
That sins with a sanctified look, at a feast 
Is entitled to precedence over the rest, 
So I'll honor the cowl and gown. 



And he got him a lawyer to sit at the foot, 

A jolly old fellow too. 
Who had plundered the widow, and spoiled the poor. 
And spurned the orphan away from his door. 
And cheated by statute and plead, and swore 

As cunning old lawyers do. 

Then he got him a usurer plump and fat, 

A sleek old cent per cent. 
Who cut with a razor so sharp and keen. 
That few who fell into his hands, I ween. 
Were suffered to pass till he'd shaved them clean, 

Tho' demure as any cat. 



100 Country Margins. 

Then the " black man" got him a merchant too, 
Who sold by the shortened yard ; 

Who kept his accotmts in a way of his own — 

When he sold two ounces he sat three down ; 

And charged two shillings as half a crown, 
And proved by his clerk 'twas true. 

Then he got him a doctor, a queer old quack, 

With his saddle-bags by his side. 
Who physicked and sweated, without remorse, 
Every living thing, from a man to a horse, 
And blistered, and bled, and tortured them worse 

Than the disease of which they died. 

He filled up his table with others, I ween. 

Of right good families old, — 
For the Devil is proud, and a common knave ; 
Who cheated by retail he would not have, 
And the sight of a pickpocket made him grave, 

So he tipped him the shoulder cold. 

The guests were seated, the board was spread 

With luxuries rich and rare ; 
Each guest had a dish that suited himself 
Reserved in the care of a dingy elf; 
* As a dessert (the host had spared no pelf 

In procuring a dainty fare.) 

The guests were merry, they quaffed their wine, 

Eight merry were they that night, 
They cracked their jokes, and laughed and sung, 
And huzzaed, and roared till the arches rung, 
And jests obscene were on each tongue ; 
They, in fact, were a little " tight." 



The Gentleman in Black. 101 

The night, oh 1 it glided right merrily on, 

And no one took note of time ; 
And the old clock bell, in the old gray tower, 
He hammered the peals of the midnight hour, 
But the guests were too merry, they had no power 

To list to the solemn chime. 

The host he rose from his iron chair, 

And he called for his burning bowl. 
And he brought the table a terrible whack, 
That startled the priest, and alarmed the quack. 
And took e'en the lawyer a little aback, 

When he thought of that thing — the soul. 

He bowed to the chair, and he filled the cup 

With right good liquor, I ween ; 
That sparkled and flashed with gases old ; 
That was meet to be quaffed by sinners bold. 
Or the burly lips of the knights of old — 

Oh, that host he had glorious wine ! 

" A health!" quoth the host, "here's a health to all ! 

Te have served me well and true : 
Te have furnished my palace and filled my ranks 
With souls seduced by your merry pranks ; 
Te have labored so well that the meed of thanks 

Is due firom your prince to you. 

" I have traversed the earth from pole to pole, 

I have wandered from sea to sea : 
And the world is full of my followers now. 
Whom you 've taught to sin, ye well know how : 
And one and all at my feet to bow — 

On earth there is none like me ! 



102 Country Margins. 

" Te have finished your task. Tour work is done, 

Aad need ye should take your rest. , 
Te will speed with me to my murky home, 
Where the rich flames flash round my burning dome, 
And our demon orgies, 'mid smoke and gloom. 

Have a richer and rarer zest." 

Then he winked to his imps, and he flourished his tail. 

And he stamped with his iron hoof. 
And the guests were grappled and hurled along. 
And the merry jest, and the shout and song 
Were followed by shrieking loud and long. 

As they tore through the riven roof. 

There was wonder on earth when the morning broke, 
And the lawyer, and priest, and quack, 

And the merchant and guests that feasted there. 

Were sought for carefully everywhere, 

By many a longing, anxious heir, 
But none of them e'er came back. 

That feast was held in a ruined church. 

That stood in a lonely dell. 
That had battled with time and slow decay. 
And the ivy had crept, in its loving way. 
O'er its mossy towers and walls of gray — 

Oh I a min it loves right well. 

The ivy was scorched, and its leaves were black, 

As if fire had revelled there : 
And the wandering peasant often spoke 
Of a sulphur stench and a murky smoke. 
That hung o'er the ruin when morning broke— 

And then floated away on the air. 



IX. 

ISOL AT ION. 

Sleep, oh, beautiful sleep, if thou wert an angel, 
I would kneel down here and thank thee for this 
hour of cool repose. 

So I said or thought this afternoon after waking 
from dreams and refreshment on the parlor sofa. 
I had wandered home latish in the day, to find the 
house closed and desolate. AU gone I all but my 
father, and he asleep in his room — all gone. Of 
course they were. I had just been to see them off. 

Well, as you say, what of that? Why, my ex- 
cellent Editor, you may say "what of that?" as 
much as you please, but this crawling into your 
own house, by the well-door or a back cellar window, 
is a dismal piece of business. Rooms empty and 
dark, and with that cold smell, into which you go 
sneezing, and stepping carefully about like a cat, 
and the servants so quiet and low-toned as though 
it were Sunday again. Oh, would it were Sxmday 
— ^the day of days, the glory of the week — ^the key- 
stone of the arch. 

Ugh ! throw open the windows and give us Hght, 
light! LIGHT I 



104 Country Margiks. 

Ah, sir, I don't ask for Sunday. I am not in the 
mood for it. No, nor for any day. "What can I 
do with this solemn circumstantiality, this inevitable 
proceeding, this right foot foremost forever? Give 
me rather (if I may choose), some cast-off fragment^ 
some rough piece of chaos, not yet fashioned into 
any respectable day-time, so it be other than this 
bright, glittering, mocking Monday afternoon, which 
finds my house desolate, as I have said, and my 
very particular friend full of travel, and talk, and 
laughter, a hundred miles away I To go away as 
I did, so vive and elate, and come back drooping 
and wiltered to be as a cheese-paring in the face of 
this dazzling sunshine ! Thunders and red light- 
nings ; it seems to me I should like, but this white 
light, this breezy Monday I don't like, and there's 
no use in talking about it. 

Such was the perverse mood, sir, which sleep has 
charmed away. 

For we have had pleasant days, though they are 
gone; genial days, and nights all-glorious. Sun- 
rises and sunsets, painted with the hues and tones 
of the first day. Day-dreams and night-dreams, 
glad faces, and hearts more glad, and disquisitions, 
and argumentations solid as the primeval granite. 
AU gone now, but not lost — ^thank God for that — 
not lost, but a part of our being, and forever. . 

Backward, looking into these few past weeks, 
my eye drops upon many pleasant pictures, and as 
the artists say, studies, of a tempting character ; and 



Pleasant Summer Pictuees. 105 

so looking, I behold on one of those most solstitial 
days, two men, strangers to me, who were walking 
up our yard, doubtless seeking for what might hap- 
pen to turn up. One was stoutish, and as you may 
say, established in all his ways ; the other jaunty in 
both look and carriage, black hair, if I remember 
aright, with a twist in it, and a decided cock to his 
hat. The idea, as it recurs in my mind (for it is all 
dream-Uke now, in the distance), the memory is, that 
after shaking myself a little to make sure that I was 
awake, I showed those gentlemen into our parlor, 
just about sunset, while a smart crack of thunder 
was waking up all our northern sky, and that soon 
after we all took tea and compared notes somewhat, 
as was proper to men of high consideration. My 
people, as I remember it, were in white, (my wife, 
certainly,) and all was cordial and serene. Doubt- 
less there was laughing, and blushing, and pell-mell 
talking, and a handsome confusion of exchange and 
interchange, but the picture, as aforesaid, was in its 
general tone cordial and serene. But it was all like 
a panorama ; for my new friends straightway lighted 
cigars and departed over Roaring EiTcr, and soon 
after, were -wheeling away swiftly into the south. 
This is one of the pleasant summer pictures in our 
gallery, and if you, Mr. Editor, ever meet such stout 
man with a Webster-like build of face and figure, 
and that other individual, with a twist in his black 
hair, and hat at an angle — ^I say, sir— give them 
my regards. 

5 



106 Country Margins. 

Eeminiscences are pleasant, but facts remain. 
You have pictures, but " it is not good for man to 
be alone." If a man withdraws from the world, and 
still' lives' a high, pure life, it is not because he is 
alone, it is because he is not alone. He is living with 
God. He is in a Presence, to which the coming in 
of whatever hosts on earth, or in heaven, add and 
detract nothing. But this is not isolation. ' 

And a child,' scarcely as yet conscious of this Pres- 
ence, save in a remote way (as when with closed 
eyels. Tire feel, but do not see the light), wiU while 
away hbur £iftet hour with soriiething of His handi- 
work— ^a streak of sunlight, or a pebble, or a flower. 
Put it out in the grass, under a rose-bush, and see 
the thing wonder and philosophize, and laugh, all 
alone (?) to itself. Not ^much talking at this tiniei 
but what grave exclamations, what wise points of ad- 
miration, what profound and questioning looks over 
a leaf, or a blade of grass ! ' A year or two lafer, 
piit this curious thing out there again, and it begins 
to conibine andaerrange. Thepebble, and the grass, 
and the flb-Wer, are worn out. They have talked 
everythitig up for the present, and. now it says, let 
us prepare for wax, or, if of the gentler sex; for a tea- 
party ! In either case, it is not alohe^ — far from it ; 
nor unhappy — ^far from it ; it is just one bubble of 
enjoyment. But if you w'ant to hear its reserve 
force, in full Bedlam exhibition, just put it in a dark 
closet alone. 

I never saw but one child that I thought would 



The Young Indian. • 107 

bear that quietly. It was a papoose from the Florida 
everglades. Col. Harney had been exploring those 
recesses, shooting and hanging the Indians never 
before disturbed in those retreats, and on one of the 
little grassy islands, that are scattered about in those 
clear waters, this youngster was found, after a fight, 
and brought up a prisoner of war, to St. Augustine. 
He was the gravest piece of humanity that I ever 
beheld. A week before, it is safe to say, he had 
never seen a white man, or any of his novelties. 
Very likely all that he had seen of the world was 
that one island, with the bright water running up 
and away from its shores. Always there day and 
night, running up and away again ; always clear and 
bright and sweet to the taste. This, and the high grass 
waving far away into the distance, overtopped here 
and there by a palm, was all the world to him. There, 
perhaps, he had heard Of the Great Spirit, whose are 
all the islands and the waters, and the red men and 
white men; and who has said, "vengeance is mine; I 
will repay." There his mother had crooned wild songs 
over the little red face, and his father had ttimbled 
him in the grass and taught him the war-whoop* 
He didn't want any other father or inother.' They 
were good enough for him. .They were gone now, 
and here was everything iiew and strange. ■ Houses, 
streets, faces, language, all new, all stranige. But 
nothing surprised him, nothing moved him, nothing 
would make hitn laiigh, and certainly if his face t6ld 
a true story, there was nothing to make him fear. 



108 CouNTBY Margins. 

His keen black eyes were constantly busy noting this 
tMng and that, but in sucb a blank, sad way, sad, 
not fi:om its intensity, but from its want of all feel- 
ing, as thougli lie saw notliing to bis liking. Very 
nice, very fastidious was he, that nothing would suit 
his particular humor. "Whether, in fact, this cool, 
blank look, was that of ignorance and stupidity, I 
know not; or whether he saw continually before 
him a picture of his father dangling from the fig-tree 
on his little island home in the everglades. Hang- 
ing there all day in the bright sunlight, but so still 
and speechless. Hanging there all night, staring 
with dead wide-open eyes, at.the white moon and the 
stars! 

In any case, that boy seemed to me quite alone in 
the world. 

But isolation, literal and absolute, would proba- 
bly be death ; and not merely death of the body, 
but annihilation of aU being. There are lonely 
beings now in the world, thousands and tens of 
thousands, who, without lea,dings of thought and 
hope from the cloud of witnesses about them, or 
from the felt presence of. God himself, would sink 
at once into nothingness, — bum out like a candle, 
body and soul. And there are others of us, — God 
help us all, — still more lonely and desolate, seeking 
always for this same isolation, as though in that was 
the very joy of life. Chalk-marking and laying out 
the bounds, saying, "That's mine, — -take carel don't 
step over there, you are on my premises," and so in 



No Man his own Master. 109 

a general way crying out "Scat" and "Wheel" to 
everything about The great fact being all the time 
(as we get to know some day, or die as the fool 
dieth) that man unassisted, or independent, as we 
say, is but small comfort to himself. And this, 
because he feels that he is with a stranger ; a being 
with whom, as yet, he has scarcely more than a 
nodding acquaintance ; one who, for aught he knows, 
may yet turn out a robber and a cut-throat. 

Am I exaggerating? Not a bit of it. Every 
man of thought knows this. He bears his own bur- 
den ; he carries his own secret with him. If he looks 
within, it is not his whole being at which he looks, 
for he can .see but one thing at a time, and he is 
manifold in make — JEJ Pluribus Unum — a sort of 
United States of being — ^wheels within wheels — a 
strange mechanism, the motive power of which is 
aU in double darkness — an infernal machine, which 
may blow him up, he knows not how soon. No 
man feels that he is his own master. He cannot 
wholly guide his owni being. Any one who imagines 
that he has any power of his own over his nature, 
has fooled himself to believe a Ke. It is his nature 
that guides, and hais power over, him. It sways 
about with him this way and that, and it never rests 
for one solitary moment of time. It is like a star, 
whose glimmer is unceasing. You can never look 
. it in the face, for it never will be still, for you to 
do it. While you look for it here, presto, it is there. 
While you fancy you are having a fair iite-d-(i(e, 



110 GouTSTTUY Margins. 

behold it is in Galifomia or the South Seas. "While 
you are bending over it microscopically, it has 
gone six times around the world, and is back again 
fresh -as ever. ' Lively, pert, inq-uisitive, joyous at 
times, and mourning at times, and at other times 
puffed with such impudence and deviltry, as heE 
itself must feed, to give it such an air of royalty and 
dominion. Thete is no peace with this strange 
composition, till a man seeks his Maker, and asks 
for power over, himself, day by day, and night-, by 
night, and hour by hour, until he may escape from 
this wild existence into something pure and rational. 

And this something pure and rational — ^this life, 
as distinguished from death — what is it ? It is not 
motion, as we have said, or momentum. Nor is it 
isolation, Or inertia, or repose in the sense of rest. 
It is (as far as we may guess) action, needing no 
repose. It is health after disease, sanity after inci- 
pient madness ! It is thought, fluent and burning 
as a star, high above day and night, and change. 
It is self-possession and strength. It is a part of the 
glory of God. It is crowiied. It is triumphant. 
It is a living Hallelujah. It is wisdom, and know- 
ledge, and power; and its utterance — the loftiest 
speech given to men or angels, — " Olory be to Qod 
in the highest I Amen and amen I" 

And doubtless this life must be begun here, if 
begun at all ; must be entered upon, if at all, here, 
in this bustling and changing world, amid eating, 
and drinking, and working, and dreaming, and strife. 



Sleep, Be autiful Seeep I 111 

and trouble, and pain, and whatever apparent, con- 
fusion confounded — "for there is no work, nor de- 
vice, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave ;' 
and life, in. its essential elements, is the same, in all 
places and at ail times, and, like God himself is 
unchangeable and everlasting. 
, Good-night, sir. "We have had a long, lonely talk. 
I will go up, now, and seek for more; of that sweet 
oblivion which I found this afternoon^ on the paxlor- 
sofa. Good-night. 

Yours, , 



Sleep 1 oh 1 beautiful sleep, if thou wert an angel, I would 
kneel down here and worship thee for this hour of cool reposfc. 

We worship no such divinity, as sleep, angel, or 
no angeL "We are against sleep as an active prin- 
ciple, an entity. We look vpon it as a necessity, 
enforced, thrust upon, the world ; a thing to be en- 
dured with resignation, rather than worshipped as 
a God. Sleep, indeed ! Will anybody tell us what 
good, what pleasurable thing, what positive emotion, 
there can be in dull Oblivion — ^in lying down with 
closed eyes, the mind a blank, and the physical man 
utterly prostrate and powerless ? Have you a purse ? 
A thief can steal it. Have you a house? The 
incendiary may burn it over you. Have you an 
enemy ? He may cut your throat, and this same 
divinity, sleep, say no word against it. Mark, we 
don't deny the recuperative power of sleep — ^we 



112 Country Margins. 

confess its utility. When we are weary, sleep is a 
good thing, a very pleasant thing. But it is all 
negative, only an absence of weariness, a cessation 
of pain — ^nothing more. And as well might a hun- 
gry man worship a leg of mutton or a rump steak, 
because eating it will allay his hunger. 

But to sleep ! to dream ! Very pleasant things 
are dreams, we admit, sometimes — ^not always. "We 
can't choose our dreams. They come unbidden, 
and are the subjects of no volition of our own; 
shadows all, they come and go, and leave no trace, 
no footprint on the sand, no mark on the wall. We 
rather like dreams — they are racy; they have no 
affinities with the sober experience, the hard realities 
of life. Natural laws are nothing to the dreamer. 
He laughs at, he spurns their control, and glancing 
above them, revels in impossibilities. The birds 
talk with him. Dumb animals converse with him. 
Even the trees bend their tall heads, and while their 
leaves are playing with the summer winds, open 
their queer mouthg and speak to him. We had a 
dream once : we have had many ; but this was im- 
pressive, peculiar, and left its strange transitions 
firmly fixed in our memory. 

It was three years ago. We were out in the 
woods with a guide, sleeping in a shanty built by 
ourselves on the banks of the St. Eegis LaJce, one of 
those beautiful little sheets of water lying all alone 
in the forest away up north. Our shanty was built 
in this wise : In front of the gigantic trunk of a 



Beook-Teout and Deeams. 113 

fallen tree, and at some eight feet distance from it, 
and as many feet from each, other, we placed two 
forked posts. Across these we laid a pole, and from 
each another pole, to the great log. Others still 
were laid parallel with these as rafters, and over aJl 
was spread bark peeled from the trees aromld. The ^ 
sides were bmlt up with boughs, in order to keep off 
the lateral dampness. The front was open, and di- 
rectly before the door, which, by the way, was the 
whole broadside of our dwelling, was a smttdge, or 
fire buHt to keep the musquitoes and black flies 
from devouring us. Our bed was of green boughs. 
We had travelled far that day, and were hungry 
and weary when we reached the lake. My guide 
built the shanty while I caught a string of brook- 
trout, in a little stream that came laughing and 
scolding from the hills to lose itself in the waters of 
the lake. These, with a steak from a deer we had 
Idlled, afforded us a hearty supper, and we ate 
as hungry men in the forest are apt to do. As the 
darkness closed in upon the world, and while the 
stars were coming out one after another to hold 
their watch in the sky, we laid ourselves down on 
our bed of boughs to sleep. The solemn night 
voices were aU around us ; and weary from travel 
and lethargic from a wildwood feast, y<re soon passed 
into slumber. 

As we slept upon that bed of boughs that night, 
strange visions passed before us. "We were away vsx 
a new world, and yet all that we saw was familiar, 
5* 



114 COUNTBY Mae GINS. 

nothing seemed strange to lis ;, we. -were, among 
beings that we seemed to .know ; not raen and wo- 
men, but rather the spirits of men and women ; not 
as. of those who had, died, and whose bodies were 
mouldering in the graver— they, had , form, but not 
substance.; shadows that, moved and spoke; that 
seemed formed after the similitude of men and wo- 
men, but through whose, forma the sunlight passed. 
We possessed all the attributes of humanity, save a 
real, tangible body. Hands, and limbs, and body, 
we. seemed to possess, palpable "tothe vision, but not 
to the touch. Hunger, and cold, and heat, and 
pain, were things that seemed to us unknown. 
Space and time were as nothing. We. passed at 
pnce without effort, like thought, from place to 
place., :We think of scenes far distant from us— 
niemory calls up th© stream,, the lake, the meadow, 
the great trees, the cottage, and the garden ; we say 
thought wandera away to such scenes. Well, this 
seemed to, be with us a reality* If we thought of a 
scene, a localily, hundreds or thousands of miles 
away, at. once we were there. 

We thought of Rome, of the great St. Peter's, and 
there we stood, beneath that gigantic temple. We 
thought of the. pyramids, and stood at their base, 
and talked familiar with the mummies, that slept 
within those granite piles. We thought of Water- 
loo, and there we stood surveying that mighty con- 
flict. We saw legions of men hurled against le- 
gions of men. We heard the roar of the cannon, 



A Foe EST Dream.' 115 

and the rattle of miisketry. "We saw the smoke of 
battle wreathing up from blazing battalions. • We 
saw the flashing, of. swords, as vast squadrons of 
horsemen mowed down the flying foe. We heard 
the -groans of the wounded, and the wild shrieks of 
the dying. We passed unharmed through the con- 
flicting hosts, looking upon the dying and the dead. 
Wherever we chose to be, at once we were there. 
How we passed we know not — ^the fact alone we re- 
member. As our body was intangible, it was un- 
affected by the elements, I'ire would not burn it, 
water would not drown it. We could walk on the 
bottom of the ocean with a thousand fathom of 
water above us. We could plunge into the volcano's 
seething cauldron. Eocks would not crush us, and 
precipices, down which we plunged, were harmless 
as the level plain. Such a being were we, and such 
were those around us. Shadows, mere intellectual- 
ities existing palpably to the vision, having form 
and comeliness, but unfettered and unconfined by a 
fleshly body. Of such a body, it seemed to us, we 
had never heard, save in the wild,, theories of some 
metaphysical dreamer. Its existence was a subject 
of derision, and those who upheld its reality were 
regarded as idle visionaries, nay, as pfofane reject' 
ers of philosophical truths. 

" A change came o'er the spirit of our dream." 

We were away in the midst of the broad prairies 
of the West, They lay there as they came from the 



116 Country Mabgiks, 

Creator's hand. The eye of civilization had never 
before looked upon them, and no civilized man had 
set his foot upon the green grass that vegetated 
upon their bosom. All aroimd us were vast plains, 
treeless and shrubless as a shorn. meadow. Away 
off, on the one hand, hanging like a blue dim sha- 
dow upon the horizon, was a belt that we knew to 
be timber ; while, on the bther, on the very outside 
boundary of vision, loomed up the gigantic peaks of 
the Eocky Mountains, moveless and fixed, like sen- 
tinels of God, watching the boundless plains be- 
neath them. The tall grass waved like vast fields 
of grain in the summer winds ; rich flowers of the 
most gorgeous hues sent their wild fragrance 
abroad on the air, charming the vision by their 
glory, and entrancing the senses by their sweetness. 
In all this vast plain we saw no living thing. All 
around us was silence ; vegetation alone seemed to 
live there — and that grew and flourished in rich- 
est and wildest luxuriance. It was like a vast gar- 
den, planted and nourished by the hand of nature, 
unaided, as it was unchecked, by the ingenuity or 
the industry of man. Suddenly a blight seemed to 
pass over that vast plaia ; the flowers faded ; the tall 
grass shrivelled and died ; the leaves on the rank 
weeds rolled together, and were blown away by hot 
winds that swept over that ocean of land ; vegeta- 
tion withered into a gray and sapless mass, standing 
where it grew ; the streams, that were wont to 
move in sluggish and tortuous windings, -vyere dried 



CA]fBICES Of A DnfiAM. - 117 

up, leaving channels like the trails of gigantic ser» 
pents; the blight of drought wafl upon all nature 
about us. 

As -we stood wrapped in conteniplation of the im- 
mensity around us, a dull heavy sound fell upon 
our ear, like the Tumbling of a thousand carriages 
over the rough pavement of a far-off city. Turning 
in the direction whence the sound seemed to come, 
we saw in the distance vast herds of deer and ante- 
lopes, flying at wild speed towards the spot where 
we stood. Behind these came an army of elks; 
their stately horns, glancing and waving in the sim- 
light, seemed like a forest of dead, low, barklesa 
trees. Behind these: came thundering . down again, 
millions and millions of buffalo, making the earth 
tremble with the weight of their rushing and count- 
less hosts. For miles and miles, in width as well as 
in depth, this vast herd covered the plain, bellowing 
and roaring in seeming terror at some terrible de- 
struction behind thein. Then came vast droves of 
wolves, panting and howling in immense numbers> 
with jaws distended and tongues lolling out, like 
hounds wearied by the chase. None seemed seek- 
ing for prey ; a mortal terror was upon all ; all were 
fleeing, as it seemed for life, towards the belt of tim- 
ber land visible in the distance. These vast waves 
of animal life swept by us ; the roar of their count- 
less voices died away like the tempest in its onward 
flight. Then we saw the reason of their mortal 



118 CouNTBY Margins. 

terror. Away, in the distance, was a dense, line of 
dark murky smoke wreathing and twisting heaven: 
ward, wrapping earth and sky in its sombre folds. 
On came the fearful visitation, preceded by a line of 
fire athwart the whole of that vast plain, flashing 
and glancing upward as new fael was grasped by 
its devouring toiigije, and it was hurled onward by 
the rushing winds. On it came crackling and roar- 
ing, like a mighty billow of flame, devouring and 
overwhelming all things in its terrible career. . On- 
ward and onward it came with the speed of the war- 
horse, and the roar of the tornado. Before it was 
destruction ; in its rear the blackness of desolation^ 
Far as the eye could reach, on the right hand and 
on the left, it moved in a line of fire, leaving no es- 
cape save an onward flight. We stood spell-bound, 
as it approached ; that mighty prairie seemed rolled 
up as it swept along like a vast scroll, while the 
impenetrable obscurity behind it was like the dark- 
ness that was of old on the face of the deep. It 
approached — ^it surroimded — ^it enveloped us within 

its folds, when — < ^we awoke, and behold it was 

a dream I and " yet not all a dream." The fire we 
had kindled in front of o\ir shanty had crept along 
the dry leaves until it reached the foot of a dead fir- 
tree, among whose thick and withered branches a 
wild grape-vine had spread its thousand tendrils- 
That too was dead; the fire had crept up the dry 
trunk of that dead fir-tree, and having reached the 



The Dream Over. 119 

net- work of vines and sapless branches, it burst out 
into a brilliant flame. Wben we started from our 
sleep it was flashing and crackling, and twirling up- 
wards, lighting up forest and lake like a vast torch 
in the hand of some gigantic demon of the woods. 



X. 



D, WITH A DASH TO IT. 

Oh, compositors I oh, proof-readers I and' you, 
oh, printers' devils! if you have anything to do 
with it, please give us the facts which we send you, 
as they are. The facts, not imaginations. 

Wp admit that words are poor and inexpressive 
signs, but they are aU we have to talk with. And we 
can approximate somewhat to each other's ideas, by 
a proper use of words. Usage has attached to them 
certain meanings and values, and by judgment and 
care, a man may sometimes say almost the very 
thing which he has in mind. But, my dear sirs, it 
is. a delicate business. It is walking a very tight 
rope, and requires the most careful balance and fix- 
edness of purpose. Moreover, it requires a perfect 
agreement and unity of action. If we say oh, ah, 
bah, and so forth, then we expect from you the same 
oh, ah, bah, and so forth. If we say ex-plum-bum, ex- 
plum-bum it is. Ex-bum-plum won't do, or plum- 
bum-ex. No, sirs, give us nothing else but the 
great fact, Ex-plum-bum ! 

If you diverge the slightest from this solemn ex- 
actness, you depart, at once, into fictions and all 



Troubles ofan Editor. 121 

uncertainties. In short, you are in a dangerous way. 
You don't know-T— you can't conceive — ^and no man 
can know or conceive for you — the long-drawn mis- 
cMef, to wliicli you give such a heedless begianing. 
Why, sirs, you disturb the harmony of the world — 
the moral equilibrium of things. You do not 
merely stand in the light, you bring down mid- 
night. You "create darkness." 

This, I grant, is not always the case ; for when 
you merely print on for or, as ia a late paper of 
ours, a shrewd reader may discover the error ; but 
when you drop whole words, containing the heart 
of a paragraph, I can scarcely express my astonish- 
ment. How you can sleep at night, after putting 
forth such fragments to the world, it is difficult to 
say. 

But to some rules there are exceptions, and 
although this belongs to nearly the highest ethics, 
and is, in fact, almost that perfect law to which ex- 
ceptions are impossible, there is one exception to 
this rule, and it would rejoice my heart to see it 
always recognized. 

A club-mate of mine, who had been living a gay 
life, as he supposed, discovered his mistake and 
reformed; and in a letter to a mutual friend, cau- 
tioned him not to write any more, "d, ioith a dash 
to it." 

This, sirs, is that exception, which, if always ob^ 
served in papers and books, would gladden the 
hearts of thousands upon thousands — this d, with a 



122 GotiNTET: Mae GINS. 

dasli to it. Drop it, Mr. Compositor ; drop it, proof- 
reader,, down with it, cast it out ; it is a devil. 
Don't use d, with a dash to it. It. is not gentle- 
manly, it is not manly, it is not decent. It is ho 
part of a man's language. It is that abominaible 
thing which God hates, and why should not you 
and I? .There is no such blot in. the heavens, or 
on the earth. No bird, or beast, no mountain 
brook, or cataract, or earthquake, or thunders even, 
that ever utter that word. It is of the Devil's make 
and man's adoption ; applied to everything , hot, 
cold, wet and dry, head, eyes, and body, and 
(Heaven forgive us) to the soul itself, while it has 
no fitness for any one thing or person placed, or liv- 
ing legitimately on this our earth. It belongs to 
that place prepared for the Devil and his angels. It 
is proper there. It is there for the place and its 
people. But you and I, my friend, are not yet sen- 
tenced. Thanks be to our Father in Heaven, the 
blue sky is still "bending over us all." We have 
not yet gone down into darkness and despair. 

Oh ! of all smallest performances under the sun, 
what a study for a Hogarth, is that of "man, born 
like a wild ass's colt," calling hastily for the day of 
judgment, with this d, with a dash to it ! What 
courage '. what heroism ! what greatness ! what a 
sublimely high purpose ! My own life has been so 
joyous, not to say exultant, that I cannot presume 
to know how terribly some may be tempted ; but I 
can well imagine that here and there, and more 



Blowing off Steam. 123 

than here and there, in the pressing crowd who 
are daily moving on to the grave, there may be 
uplifted hands and trembling aspirations ; I can 
imagine many a sinking! heart and weary brain 
tempted, if you please, to cry, "Spare us. Good 
Lord; Christ, have mercy upon us !"— but to invoke 
evil — ^to ask for death and perdition, oh ! the mad* 
ness — ^the madness! 

Tastes no doubt diflfer, and to some, d, with a 
dash to it, may have a pleasant twang, but. I would 
rather have a pistol fired in my hair, than ever hear 
it, or any of its horrid combinations, and I never 
heard it even repeated, as from another, in rounding 
a story, or ^ving a, fancied point to an anecdote, 
that it was not accompanied with a sheep-faced con- 
sciousness of having done a very small thing. I 
never saw a man detected in stealing a leg of mutton, 
but I should think such a man would have just 
about such an expression of countenance. 

There are people who think they feel better, 
sometimes, for " blowing off steam," as they call it. 
But swearing is not blowing off steam ; it is burst- 
ing the boiler. Doubtless, as a people, we carry too 
many pounds to the square inch— let us blow off, 
by all means, but don't let us suppose that the final 
cause and end of steam is to " blow up." 

The truth is, we may, witkjust as much pro- 
priety, just as much kindness, and about the same 
effect, throw vitriol about among our friends, as to 



124 Country Margins. 

foul the pure air of heaven with oaths and blasphe- 
mies. 

Is it not so, Mr. Editor, Mr. Compositor, Mr. 
Proof-reader ? Then let us make it so. Let us down 
with d, with a dash to it. 

Its force is weakness— its point is bathos. The 
world is bad enough, wicked enough, wretched 
enough, miserable enough ; but it is not so bad, or 
wicked, or wretched, or miserable, as to give any 
logic or fitness to d, with a dash to it. It is not yet 
in order. 

What say you all to giving it the cold shoulder? 
Ehl What's the vote? Send me, Mr. Editor, the 
ayes and noes, on the following proposition : Never 
to print — never to write — ^never to utter — ^never to 
listen to it — ^never in any wayj shape, or manner, 
open or sly, to use " d, with a dash to it." 

Yours, . 



" If you diverge the slightest from this solemn exactness, yon 
depart at once into fiction,. and all uncertainties. In short, you 
are in a dangerous way- Why, sirs, you disturb the harmony of 
the world.^-the moral equilibrium of things ; you do not merely 
stand in the light, you bring down midnight — ^you create dark- 
ness," 

Just so I We have laughed and scolded and said 
a good many things, that to some might sound hke 
profane swearing, over this same matter. We have 
been victimized oxirself, dozens of times — ^made to 



Spelling Figs with a P. 125 

say all sorts of queer tlimgs, by the mere change of 
a letter, or mistake of a word. We came to our 
present position entirely green, as to all matters per- 
taining to the management of a newspaper. "We 
had not, in all our life, had an hour's experience in 
proof-reading. We have tried our best to improve 
in this respect, but we still fall very short of perfec- 
tion. The types make us say a good many things 
we never dreamed of, and the worst of it is, when 
they speak, whatever they say, becomes a fixed 
fact, imchangeable as destiny, standing there impreg- 
nable, defiant of all human agency to change it. 

Not long since, we visited a firiend in the country, 
and in giving an account of our ramblings and the 
pleasant things we had seen, we undertook to. de- 
scribe his beautiful garden, and in doing so, spoke 
of a thrifty fig-tree and its fruit. We claim some 
genius for graphic description, and have always been 
a little proud of our efforts in that line. Judge 
then of our mortification, when our attention was 
called to the fact that we had hung all manner of 
" pigs" on the oriental tree in our friend's conserva- 
tory, from the little green nucleus from which the 
blossom had just fallen, to the fully ripe "pig." 

On a,nother occasion we had been presented with 
a basket of oranges. Large, ripe, and luscious the 
fruit was, direct from the sunny South, where it grew. 
We acknowledged the gift in suitable terms, as all 
editors who are presented with nice things should. 
The next day one of those joke-finders, that are per- 



126 CouNTEY Margins. 

mitted, for some inscrutable piarpose, to pester the 
world, stalked into our office and gravely inquired 
about the basket of " ourangoutangs" -we had been 
favored with. "Bring us the paper of yesterday!" 
we thundered to our devH, (not he of the lioof and 
horns,) who was sitting cross-legged, on a stool, 
studying the progrannne of a band of negro inelo- 
dists, who were to give a banjb and bone cohcert in 
the evening. The paper was brought, and sure as 
fate, we had acknowledged the receipt of a basket 
of most beautiful " oueangoutangs," from oui: 
esteemed friend Mr.. John Smith, who had just re- 
ceived a cargo of the same sort, at his old stand on 
the Hill. 

A friend of ours, who was formerly connected 
with the press, as the editor of a country newspaper, 
relates an amusing anecdote on this subject. He 
had an old chuih, whose name was BOLLOCK, afid 
who took to himself a wife one day. Our friend, 
who attended the wedding, undertook to announce, 
in a becomiag manner, through the columns of his 
paper, the happy event. In the afternoon of the 
day on which the announcement was made, Mr. 
Bullock strode into his office, with face blazrug, and 
eyes flashing with iadignation, one hand graspiiig 
a newspaper, and the other closed up iato a compact 
bunch of bones, like a sledge-hammer — "Look you, 
Mr. D — ~," said he, with a voice choking with anger, 
" by what name am I to be called ? Answer me 
that, you type-setting, qtiiU-drivihg son of a cylinder 



An Excited Bridegroom. 127 

press." "Hallo," fcried our iriend, "what's out, 
now?" "I want. to know.wliat.my name is — my 
NAME, that's what's out," cried the enraged Bul- 
lock. " Your name ? Why Bullock, to be' sure — 
Mr. J.D. Bullock, M.D. — ^who ever disputed that?" 
replied our astonished friend. "Look there," said 
the excited married man, pointing to the announce- 
ment of his own wedding in bur friend's paper, and 
there, sure enough, was the marriage of the beauti- 
ful and accomplished Miss AMELIA Agnes So and 
So, to J. D. BuLLCALl*, Esquire, M.D., with an ac- 
knowledgment of the receipt of a large slice of the 
bride's loaf, and a hberal puff for the wedding, 
which. Tinder aU the circumstances, looked mightily 
like a burlesque. The evident mortification of the 
editor, and his solemn word of honor that it was 
purely a mistake, appeased the injured party ; but 
our friend always insisted that he narrowly escaped 
a personal assault on that occasion. 

"We are getting used to these things, and they do 
not trouble us as they did once. They are vexa- 
tious enough, but they toill happen. Writers will, 
through all time, suffer from the inaccuracies of com- 
positors and proof-readers. The best remedy we 
know of, is contained id the prescription of a med- 
ical friend of ours, who is principled against curing 
the toothache by extracting the troublesome molar. 
"Doctor," said a suffering patient, with his imder 
jaw in a shng like a broken arm, and one aide of his 
face swollen to the semblance of the moiety of a 



128 Country Margins. 

moderately sized pumpkin, "I've got tlie tooth- 
ache 1" "Have you ?" said the doctor, calmly. " Yes, 
I have," replied the patient, " and it's the jumping 
toothache, too. This infernal grinder kicks like a 
whole team of mules." "Does it ?" said the doctor, 
calm and cold as an iceberg. "Yes, it does," was 
the answer. "What shall I do for this intolerable 
agony?" " Grin and bear it, and be thankful that 
you've got teeth enough in your head to ache," re- 
plied the Doctor, as he turned his back on the suf- 
fering patient and walked away. So we say to all 
?iuthors, and our friend, Margins, in particTilar, in 
view of these occasional typographical blunders, 
"Grin and bear it," and be thankful for the talent 
that enables you to furnish a work in which the 
world sees beauty enough to be marred by a f mis- 
take of the printer." 

Is it not so, Mr. Editor, Mr. Compositor, Mr. Proof-reader ? 
Then let us make it so. Let lis down with d, with a dash to it. 

It is all very well to iaUc about this downing " with 
d, with a dash to it." Eeform is a pleasant thing to 
talk about in a quiet way, to think of, and speculate 
upon. In our closet we may imagine what a wrong 
thing this or that popular habit maybe — ^how unpro- 
ductive of good — ^how pregnant of evil — ^how easily 
its folly may be demonstrated, and how readily it 
will be abandoned by the people when they come 
to understand it. All theory ! all imagination I our 
dear Margins. Strong as we may be in logic in 



Mists of Eably Mobning. 129 

these closet interviews witli ourselves, there is one 
thing wanting, the lack of which annihilates our 
theories, and dissipates our imaginings Hke the mists 
that go up in the early morning, from the cascades 
and waterfalls of your Roaring River. Go out into 
the streets, and preach reform in this matter. Take 
the swearer by the button-hole, and pour your exhor- 
tations, your logic, your demonstrations into his ear. 
TeU him it belittles humanity, and is a sin against 
Grod. Prove its foUy, its utter uselessness. It's 
hazarding the great interest of the soul, for that 
which is more utterly worthless than a mess of pot- 
tage. He won't argue, he won't gainsay a word of 
your excellent admonition. He'U stand like a post 
until you have exhausted the subject and passed on. 
Then, as his companion emerges from around the 
corner, and comes within speaking distance, he'll 
point you out as one of those reformers (coupling 
the latter epithet, may be, with an expressive adjec- 
tive, made up with a " d, with a dash to it") who go 
about preaching up the necessity of progress in the 
moral condition of the world, and boring people 
with their abstract notions of human perfectibility, 
and thereupon he and his friend will have a laugh 
over what they are pleased to term your folly, in 
meddling with that which does not concern you, 
instead of rolling up dollars, by attending to that 
which does. The thing we lack in our closet 
theories, in this as in most matters of reform, is the 
want of practical applicability of those theories to 
6 



130 Country Makgiks. 

the actual condition of the world as it is. We forget 
how impossible it is to make the people pause, to 
make human nature pause, in its onward rush,-to 
comprehend us, to feel the force of our reasoning, 
and the justness of our admonitions. We forget 
that something more is necessary to change, or erad- 
icate ^ popular habit, than the mere demonstration 
of its folly. Every body, for more than a thousand 
years, has been convinced of the folly of profanity, 
aye, of its wickedness, too. Nobody advocates it. 
Nobody justifies it ; and yet about three out erf every 
five of the people of all Christian nations indulge in 
this most foolish and wicked habit of using the " d, 
with a dash to it." It may in some sense be called 
a Christian habit, and goes hand and hand with the 
spread of Christianity. And yet against this habit 
Christianity has been warring always. Always 
denouncing, always execrating it. It finds no word, 
or letter of sanction, in all the broad range of the 
Chrtstian's creed, or the wide reach of Christian 
duties. How shall we account for this, save by 
supposing that the great Author of EvO. goes along 
by the side of the evangelists, the missionaries, and 
scatters his tares wherever he finds good seed taking 
root, dropping an oath wherever he sees the germ 
of a prayer, thus sending up to Heaven, with the in- 
cense of every pious and holy aspiration, an attend- 
ant blasphemy, to mar the joy of angels over a soul 
redeemed ? 



A Marvellous Good World. 131 

" The world is bad enough, wicked enough, wretched enough, 
miserable enough." 

True, every word most true ; and yet, as a whole, 
it is a good, a marvellously good world. Could we, 
friend Margiks, I mean you or I, or any human 
power, iavent one that would, in degrees of perfection, 
come within a sightless distance of this, which the 
great Creator has made for us ? Would we venture to 
point to one thing in the great universe of God, wheth- 
er in the heavens above, or on this earth, and say this 
is out of place, this is a deformity, this is useless ? 
Would we, in looking over the doings of Providence 
in the administration of his visible government, aad 
selecting some great national or individual calamity, 
one that spread ruin and sorrow even over a whole 
people, venture to affirm that this should have been 
ordered othermse ? Seeming evils there are doubt- 
less — events ordered by God that may bear hard 
upon us. Sorrow may darken around us ; the hopes 
that we cherished may vanish away, and we may sit 
down in desolation of spirit, to weep over the loss 
of things that we loved. But when we see, aU. around 
us, the clustering evidences of the boundless bene- 
volence, the infinite goodness of the Power that con- 
trols human destiny, would we venture, were the 
choice given us, to turn aside even the sorrow that 
feU upon ourselves ? Would we take the hazards 
of marring the great plans of the Infinite Mind, or 
bend them to square with our own feeble and narrow 



132 COUNTBY Maegins. 

perceptions ? When we looked upon tlie pale, stiU 
face of a beloved child, its eyes closed in death, with 
the wreath encircling its marble brow, placed there 
by the hand of love to decorate it for the grave, 
would we call the spirit back, or breathe life again 
into that moveless corpse ? The heart might yearn 
for its darling, but who would not say, it is God's 
work, let it be as it is ? 



XL 

SEPTEMBER. 

Dear Editor, we despair. For, of course, it is 
raining again, (just tWs once,) after all tlie late 
floods, and so we are not at No. — Broadway, though 
we tried hard. We went to the station, where, as 
you know, it is my way to "take the cars," but just 
then a long line of black cloud roUed up from the 
west, a white field rolled out beyond it, and certain 
heavy cannonades in that quarter indicated the same 
kind of thunderous Saturday afternoon, which has 
been repeated now for about six times in succession. 
And so we came back. 

Eain, rain, rain I But we are safely housed again, 
though what with riding home in a whirlwind, my 
people have a color that will last them into next 
week. 

So brilliantly as we were made up, it is almost 
provoking — almost, I say — not to have made a little 
figure this afternoon in North Broadway. In the 
confusion incident to whether we should go, I took 
cards to show our intent, mounted into the one 



134 COUNTEY Maegins. 

freight car just beiiind the engine, and came on 
thundering through smoke and cinders, over Eoar- 
ing River, while my people came back behind Bed 
Jacket; but at Bungtown my courage failed, and I 
dropped (for there was no other exit) from that lum- 
bering concern, and came straight home again. It's 
useless, said I, to separate man and wife. They 
should go together in all things. 

However, I send .the cards: Mr. Margin, Roaring 
River; Mrs. Margin, Roaring River, Wild Rose, City. 
Having parted with Snowdrop and Honeysuckle, we 
take gladly such other blossoms as float our way, 
and are rejoicing now in the Wild Rose. All of 
one excellent garden, sir, but the world having so 
many waste places, some must be transplanted to 
grace other localities. We must be generous. 

Did I tell you about "Wednesday ? "We were to 
start that day also. I had said — the last thing over 
night — " Eemember, to-morrow we are to visit the 
great City Editor." 

" "Will it rain ?" said Mrs. Margin. 

" No, — ^beautiful night — stars all out, and moon- 
light too : beautiful night, beautiful ! night of nights 
— charmante I No, my blossoms ; no more storms : 
go to bed now, and sleep on into the excellent day 
that is coming." 

Next morning, opening my clouded eyes, behold 
the rain and the equinox ! 

I say, sir, we despair. However, what could we 
expect in September? 



AEainy September. 135 

Oil breezy September, sbady September, eqxii- 
noctial September, September and oysters for ever I 
The bivalves we can have, though we see no Broad- 
way, no city editor. But if a man has any thing 
particular to say about September, let hiir^ speak 
quick, for we are already in the latter end. 

Good-bye, sir. Make our regards to Eosebud 
and all the house, and all the people about the 
house, and your neighbors, if you think proper. 
But don't fail to grasp the great fact, that we started 
and came back again — that it rained and re-rained — 
that we tried hard, and failed magnificently. 

Burr-rr-rr-urr I (that's a train on Eoaring Eiver.) 
Squib! wish-sh-sh-ish f (that's a flourish.) Bawl aw- 
aw-awh I (that's the blast.) Let them go. Foolish 
people to be going off in the rain ; but let them go. 
Tell that conductor, if you see him, that he owes, me 
one, for I paid through and dropped at Bung. The 
foolish man called out to me to go with him, but it 
wouldn't do. Eains and thunders in the west, and 
my people somewhere in the north country behind. 
Bed Jacket; it wouldn't do, and I told him so. 

Eain, rain, and again the rain I Are you looking 
for us, sir ? Are you on the house-top seeking for 
the wave of a white handkerchief? spying into the 
uttermost north, for some dim sign of Mr. and Mrs. 
Margin? Hallucinated editor, go down immedi- 
ately. We are not coming. Go down before you 
are wet through. Go down, sir, and dine, and enjoy 
yourself Have you got any plums, I wonder ? My 



136 Country Margins. 

people are just now making up for their early din- 
ner, witli plums, grapes, and muskmelons — ^the last 
about tlie flattest kind of fruit, according to my 
digestion. But the plums, sir ; oh, the plums ! Of 
aU. the generous, the bountiful things of the garden, 
I love the plum-tree -with my whole heart. It gives, 
you perceive, in such a whole-soided way, such a 
bending fulness. We have but few, compared with 
our great neighbor, who has his plum in every 
corner. But our wealth is sufficient — ^four Bleeckers, 
two magnum bonum, and one sugar-plum. It has 
been very pleasant to feed out among those trees, 
finishing or beginning a breakfast, or a dinner, or a 
supper; for the ripe plum is harmless always. I 
think I am a better man for those plum-trees ; at 
any rate, my digestion is better. Our tropical sum- 
mer and heavy rains have brought on all the fruits 
this year, in great luxuriance. Everything is fat 
and heavy with summer. Our second com is just 
now perfect — large, but tender — and rich with 
sugar. You are not obliged to nibble at it, but may 
mow it down, as a heifer cuts away the first grass of 
spring. But the plum is our stand-by. And let 
me tell you, you can't do much better than to stop 
under the Bleecker. Not so very aristocratic, but 
good. The egg is a golden daiaty, an up-towri plum, 
and the little sugars, to look at, are beauties, but the 
Bleecker you may eat aU day. Our opposite neigh- 
bor, who delights in fat cattle and pigs Hke a butter- 
barrel, and who is rather cosmopolitan in his ways, 



Beautiful Summer Dats. 137 

■walks daily amid Ms great variety of finiits, tasting, 
as a wine-bibber bis wines — that is, he did, but be is 
gone now. He stepped in at Bung as I stepped 
out, and bas gone away into tbe "West, taking the 
White Rose witb bim, (anotber from our garden,) 
wbere tbey are to plant nearly balf a county witb 
plums, grapes, pears, apples, citron, squasbes, com, 
and potatoes, and to baye aU manner of men, wo- 
men, and cbildren running about tbe lots, planting, 
sowing, chopping, harvesting, carpentering, mason- 
ing, pond-making, prospecting, and churning tons 
of butter — all which is very well. 

If all our summers are to be 
Like this fine summer of '53, 

which, however, has gone even now while we were 
looking at it — slipped away in a twinkling — ^walked 
off in tbe night, and forgot to come back again. Ah, 
if we could surround the beautiful summer days 
and make them stay with us forever. But they 
must go ; they were only here a little while on leave 
of absence. We wiU meet them all again in the day 
of judgment — ^all the beautiful days, all tbe golden 
days, all tbe dark days and nights of storm — every 
one will be there. But now it is good-bye and fare- 
well. And we, Mr. Editor, you and I — stout as 
you are, and full of blood as my veins are of late — 
we shall soon be saying good-bye and farewell, and 
to us, plum-time will be over forever. 

But meanwhile — ^for this particular moment, at 
6* 



138 Country Maegins. 

least — ^we live ; and whatever winds Antarctic are 
now ready, let tliem come. We are to roll on now, 
amid cool nights and tlie checkered days of light 
and shade. Let us take the downhill of the year 
cheerily. There is no harm in being braced up a 
little when the leaves fall. Our front maple has 
already gone into colors. If this were in mid-sum- 
mer, how untimely would it seem I This is why I 
like not a certain deadness in Southern vegetation, at 
this season. Its effort at being perennial falls short 
of that brilliant success which we look for, while it 
has nothing of the dying glories of our Northern 
autumn. - The perennial, in fact, is not altogether 
suited to our world, or to its prosperous administra- 
tion. Let us have, rather, our blazing and dashing 
summers, cooling off through the magnificence of 
autumn, to the snows and ices of winter. So shall 
we prosper and gather tone and character, and make 
headway in the great business of life. So shall we 
not tarry too long in some happy valley, and grow 
timid and feeble in the mere joy of existence. 

After all, it don't rain much, and we might have 
gone. But it's too dark for introductions. No, let 
them go, all the people. 

''Oh! oh I oh! oh!" 

Another train going North. Let them go. They, 
now, are going home. Sensible people. Coming 
out into the country where are plums, grapes, sickle- 
pears, pumpkins, and so-forth. Coming home for 
Sunday. That is sensible, rational. You may 



Gold upon" the Landscape. 139 

always expect sometliing of people who come home 
for Sunday — ^the day royale, " day of all the week 
the best." Perhaps we will sing that to-morrow 
night, as we did in the old times, with a dozen voices 
' surging about through the four parts, not to say five 
or six, for there were always one or two traversing, 
and going crosswise; but we made a noise, you may 
be sure. 

Go ahead, up-train, home for Sunday/ Carry on! 
up-train, home for Sunday. Pipe away, up-train, 
and sing it out, through the valley — ^up the river — 
over the hills and far*a-way — home for Sunday / And 
you, all aboard there, engineer and fireman, brake- 
man and conductor, young folks and old folks, 
inside and outside — God bless you allr — coming home 
for Sunday ! 

I think now, Mr. Editor, I will go out to the west 
piazza, and make a short speech to the plum-trees, 
and by that time, Saturday will be gone. I must 
thank somebody for the plums. 

Au revoir, sir, good-day, bon jour, and so-forth ; 
for bon it is, after all its wet and windy distractions. 
The rain is over ; a spot of gold lies here and there 
upon the landscape, while in the mid-heaven a few 
clouds sail slowly about — ^but mostly, the blue pre- 
vails. Good ! Look for us, suddenly, the first sunny 
day. Yours, . 



" Oh ! breezy September, shady September, equinoctial Sep- 
tember, September and oystera forever ! The bivalves we can 



14.0 CouNTBY Margins. - 

have, though we see no Broadway, no city editor. But if a man 
has any thing particular to say about September, let him speak 
quick." 

"We have much to say about September, and in its " 
favor, too. It is a good month, a great month, a 
glorious month. It is the month of dahlias, and 
of ripe fruits, the seed-time of the year. Out upon 
oysters ! They have a taint of grossness about them. 
There is nothing spiritual about the "bivalves." 
Leave them for the long evenings and cold days of 
"winter. But September has its inspirations. We 
become poetic in September. It is the month of 
yellow leaves, of purple and crimson foliage, the 
month of the Katydids, and the Cricket. They pipe 
clearest when September is young. The tza I tza I 
of the one is loudest among the hazle bushes, and 
the chirrup of the other shrillest in the wall. Sep- 
tember makes them musical, but the frost comes, 
and with it the last song of the Katydid. Did you 
ever, dear Margins, indite poetry, perpetrate rhyme, 
of a September evening, after listening to the little 
night warbler among the clusters of hazle bushes, or 
the branches of the small trees ? Did you ever ask 
the insect tattler what Katy really did to make such 
a stir in the world and give occasion for its everlast- 
ing song of "Katy did?" No! "Well, we have, 
and here is its answer. 



What did Katydid do? 141 



THE KATYDID'S ANSWER 

Oh, Katy, dear, you know you did, at midnight's silent hour, 
Steal softly through the moonlight, to this my pleasant bower, 
And here beneath its vines and leaves, by blushing roses hid. 
You met the man you love, Kate — ^you did, you know you did. 

And here you leaned upon his breast, his arm was round your 

waist, 
Your hand was locked in his, Kate, and when he stooped to taste 
The nectar that was on your lip, how gently was he chid — 
You loved to hear his whispered vows, — you did, you know 

you did. 

The moon was in the sky, Kate, the stars were watching there, 
Th3 gentle breath of summsr night was sporting in your hair ; 
I listened to your words, Kate, though soft and low they fell : 
I heard them every one, Kate, and if I would, could tell. 

But never fear me, gentle one, nor waste a thought or tear. 
Lest I should whisper what I heard in any mortal ear. 
I only sport among the boughs, and like a spirit hid, 
I think on what I saw and heard, and laugh out " Katy did." 

I sit among the leaves here, when evening zephyrs sigh. 
And those that listen to my voice, I love to mystify. 
I never tell them all I know, altho' I'm often bid : 
I laugh at curiosity, and chirrup " Katy did." 

I would not make you blush, Kate, your innocence I know — 
I know your spotless purity is like the virgin snow. 
And yet you'd better not, Kate, altho' you think your 're hid. 
Steal to my bower by moonlight, as once you know you did. 

The cricket, too, do you remember how in early- 
September, he piped among the stones in the fields, 



142 Country Margins. 

and how merrily lie sang in the wall ? We remem- 
ber one that chirped in the corner when we sat by 
our father's fireside. His voice was cheerful, and it 
was a pleasant thing to listen to his happy song. 
Father, mother, brothers, sisters were beside us then, 
and we all talked of the little warbler as a thing 
that we loved. If he came out upon the hearth, 
nobody disturbed him. If he wandered over the 
floor, nobody stepped upon or frightened him. He 
repaid our kindness by his cheerful music, as each 
evening he regaled us with a lay. But the comer, 
and the cricket, and the home of our childhood, are 
all gone. Decay has removed the one, and the 
voice of the other is hushed in death — and those 
who sat by the hearthstone listening with us to that 
cricket's song, where are they? Father, mother, 
sisters, brothers, where are they ? 

Of the twelve that composed that circle, six have 
gone to their rest, and the others have floated out 
in divers directions on the currents of life. 

Time ! Time ! ! the wreclcs that lie scattered 
along thy pathway I 

But will you tell us, friend Margins, why it ia 
that all living things that come out in the September 
evenings, have glad voices given them ? Why is it 
that when the sun is gone down, and the hum of 
business is still, when the voice of man is hushed 
and the winds have retired to their caves, the voice 
of the insect tribes, low and quiet and solemn, comes 
abroad upon the air? Why does not silence come 



Song of the Cricket. 143 

down like tlie curtains of night, and brood in the 
darkness over us? It is that we may not forget the 
lessons that nature teaches. The heavens may be 
darkened by clouds ; the face of the moon may be 
veiled, and the stars may not shine out to remind 
us ; the sound of the winds may be hushed ; but 
the song of the cricket tells us, that life and beauty, 
and joy, and happiness are rife among the creatures 
of God. Such will your answer be, and we concede 
its truth. 

" Oh ! if we could surround the beautiful summer days, and 
make them stay with us forever 1" 

We would not do it if we could, indeed we would 
not. "We love the summer, we love its long beau- 
tiful days, its broad fields of grain, its rich foliage ; 
we love its haying time, its hoeing time and its ripe 
harvests. But its hot, burning days, its noxious 
vapors, its deadly malaria, its fevers, its cholera and 
cholera morbus, we do not like. "We love the au- 
tumn, with its ripened fruits, its com huskings, its 
potato digging, its fat deer, and the music of the 
hounds on the mountains. We love the flaunting 
robes, all flaming in crimson and yellow, and green 
and deep brown that it throws over the hill-sides, 
dressing them in beauty like an eastern Houri for 
the bridal. "We love the winter, with its social even- 
ings, its pure white robe of snow. We love the 
jingle of its meny sleigh-bells. We love to hear 
the hissing of the north wind, as it whirls around 



144 CouNTET Margins. 

the comers, and over the house-tops and along the 
streets, looking into the crevices of the windows, 
and peering under the doors, as we sit with our 
friends around us, and the coals burning cheerfully 
in the grate. We can laugh at the north winds, 
and cry, ha! ha I at the driving snow. 

"We love the spring, with its opening buds, its 
growing foliage, and its early flowers. We love the 
beautiftd green fields, and the sweet breath of its 
south wind, that comes to fan us, loaded with the 
fragrance of the meadows. We love the glad song 
of the early birds, and to see them building their 
nests in the branches of the trees. We love to hear 
the shrill call of the quail from his perch upon the 
fence-stake, and the song of the catbird, or the brown 
thrush, as he sits upon the topmost branch of the 
shade-tree in the pasture, swaying in the breeze as 
he sings. We love to see the young things, the 
lambs, the pigs, the calves, the colts, and the little 
children, all in their places, joyful and happy, frisk- 
ing and playing and running hither and yon, in 
their gleesomeness, fall of the spirit of life, and fim 
and frolicking, as if there was to be no storm, no 
equinox, no bleak fall days or pinching cold of win- 
ter. We love the spring. We love summer, and 
autumn, and winter. We love all the seasons and 
all the months. We love the days of the months. 
They are not all bright, and 'glorious, and sunny, 
and we love them the more because they are not so. 
" Some daya must be dark and dreary.'' 



Days op Sunshine and Storm. 145 

The seasons are tlie types of human life, and the 
days are types also. Mark this, friend Margins ; 
in human destiny there are bright days, and dark 
days; days of sunshine, and days of storm. There is 
spring, and summer, and autumn, and winter. But 
mark again. We have but one set of seasons. Spring 
will never return to us, and when the winter of life 
comes, -its chill will leave us only at death, and its 
ice be thawed away only in the grave. But what 
of that ? There is another coimtry, where there are 
no dark days, no equinoxes, no storms, no winter 
■winds, where spring is perpetual. - Are we bound 
to it? 

" Let US take the down-hill of the year cheerily." 

Change the word "year" to "life," and you will 
have brought out the great leading principle of the 
true philosophy of living. " Take the down-hill of 
life cheerily," is your only true wisdom. You and 
I, friend Margins, have at least ceased to be young. 
And however we may deny being old, yet so much 
we will yield for the argument's sake. And, more- 
over, we cannot stapd still. We are moving. 
"White hairs are gathering upon our heads, and 
wrinkles are invading the corners of our eyes. 
These are mile-stones on our journey of life. It will 
do no good to count them — ^to try to eradicate them 
is foUy. "We must march on. "We are on the top 
of the hill at best, and our way henceforth is down- 
ward. "Well, be it so, and what then? " Take the 



146 Country Margins. 

down-liill of life cheerily." No murmuriag at tlie 
descent. Millions upon millions have gone be- 
fore us. There are flowers along the pathway, 
down-hill as it is. Hope blooms by the way — in- 
hale its fragrance and gather its blossoms. Cheer- 
ily ! cheerily ! cries our guide. Let us follow in his 
footsteps, submit to his guidance, and all will be 
well. The way may be rough — he wUl lead us 
where we will not stumble nor plunge headlong 
down the precipices that tower above fathomless 
depths. The way may be dark. Cheerily ! cheer- 
ily! sounds from the darkness, and light bursts 
upon our path. Yes, yes, cheerily is the word. 

" Perhaps we will sinj that to-morrow night as we did in the 
old times, with a dozen voices surging about, through the four 
parts, not to say five or six, for there were always one or two 
traversing or going crosswise, but we made a noise you may be 
sure." 

There is something about this that awakens me- 
mory. The clouds of the past are lifting, and old 
scenes are rising ih the perspective. We are young 
again. A quarter of a century has been obliterated 
from the number of our years, and we are on our 
way to the old brown, weather-beaten school-house, 
near the clear cold stream that flows along through 
Pleasant Valley, away out in old Steuben. Blessings 
on that beautiful valley, and that clear, cold stream. 
We have caught strings of the speckled trout from 
its deep eddies, and upon its ripples, and under the 



The Village Schoolmaster. 147 

old logs tliat lay across it. But we are on our way 
to that weather-beaten school-house. It is a clear, 
frosty night. The stars are glistening like bright 
gems in the sky, and the moonbeams sparkle like 
diamonds, in their cold brilliancy on the snow. 
The oak-trees, that retain their dead and withered 
foliage, cast their shadows hke clouds, on the un- 
broken crust on the meadows that skirt the road- 
There is stillness all around us. The night voices 
are all frozen into silence, but there is nothing sad 
or solemn in the cold, calm hush of a winter's night. 
We axe on our way to the " singing school." "We 
remember the tall, lathy " singing master," with his 
earnest and solemn face, his long hair parted on his 
forehead, and combed straight and sleek over his 
coat collar and resting on his shoulders. He is be' 
fore us now, with his long, bony hand and long 
fingers, and his mahogany pitch-pipe. His nasal fa! 
sol! la! as he gives the "pitch" to his class, is 
sounding in our ear. He was a devotional man, 
and his faith in the saving ef&cacy of psalmody was 
perfect. Among aU the tunes taught in his school. 
Old Hundred was his especial favorite. True, he 
indulged in Mear, Amsterdam, Lenox, China, Green- 
field, Coronation, and others of the same centenarian 
character, but Old Hundred was his weakness, his 
idol, his great tune of tunes. It was his first, his 
last, his midst and without end. It was the first 
given out in the evening ; it was sung in the centre 
minutes of the school, and was sxire to be the last at 



148 COUNTEY Maeqins. 

its close. And that class, merry, happy, laughter- 
loving young people, were they all, full of mischief, 
frolic and fun. The more the simple-minded teach- 
er loved and venerated his old favorite tune, the 
more they murdered it by their discords. Bass, 
tenor, treble, -and counter, were sure to be playing 
at cross purposes. Lab'or as he would, the bass 
would be too low and the tenor too high ; the treble 
would push along like a locomotive, while the coun- 
ter would drag its slow length away behind, all fill- 
ing the musical ear with the most horrible compound 
of discordant sounds. 

The good teacher has gone to his long rest. The 
old weather-beaten school-house has passed away. 
The &ee trout stream that went laughing and scold- 
ing over the clean pebbles, on its crooked path 
towards the lake, has been harnessed to a great 
water-wheel and made to grind com. That class, 
too, is all scattered — ^some are on the ocean — some 
in the far Western States — some beyond the Eocky 
Mountains, and some dwell in the city of the dead. 
"We remember their happy faces, as they were that 
last winter that we spent at the old homestead. 
They are before us now, and we see them as they 
were gathered in the singing school, worrying the 
good " singing master," with their mischievous dis- 
cords. Shadows all, creatures of fancy, hallucina- 
tions, memories only. 

"We visited the old homestead the last summer. 
It passed into the hands of strangers years ago. 



Mateonly Composuee. 149 

We inquired for the bright-eyed, romping girl, the 
beauty of the class, and we found her sitting in 
matronly composure in the shadow of a cherry-tree 
in front of her dwelling, fat and of rotund propor- 
tions, smoking a pipe that was none of the cleanest. 
She had cattle, and sheep, and grain, and pigs, and 
may be, money out on interest ; but the vision of 
the singing school had vanished away. Time! 
Time! The wrecks that are scattered along thy 
pathway ! 



XII. 



OCTOBER. 



Heaven seems to come very near to us this 
morning. It is picture-day everywhere. Overhead, 
the blue, and the blue only ; and below, in the soft 
air, scarcely a single wave of motion. A mile dis- 
tant on the islands, a line of white, some hundreds 
of feet high, runs through the valley, and along the 
edge of this snowy embankment stand tall pines in 
bright green. Within those white curtains may be 
seen other forms, faintly outlined and ghost-like ; 
and underneath the front rank, and nearer by, on 
plateaus of rock, smaller forest trees, rich in crimson 
and royal colors. 

The golden tint is in the air. This is why the 
shadows on the grass have not the sharp outline 
which of late they had in September, but rather the 
softness as of shadows by moonlight. Sound itself 
seems muffled, and comes gently to the ear. With- 
out thought as to the why of it, people speak low 
and in kind tones. Every one stroUs about lei- 
surely, saying, in a quiet way, "Beautiful — ^great!" 



Globy and Pomp of Octobee.151 

No one hurries to enjoy the day. .There is no 
feeling that it is soon to pass away ; we know that, 
but incline to think, notwithstanding, that now we 
are to have, always, days just Hke this, soft, rich, 
dreamy, and brimming with a quiet joy. We laugh 
at anybody who didn't know beforehand that we 
were going to have just such fine, glorious weather. 
Of course ! isn't it October, my hearty ? and hasn't 
it rained enough, in all conscience ? However, let 
us pause over it, and take it down slowly, as the 
boys do the pippins in the orchard. 

A gala-day, a picture-day, artistic, beautiful. 
Only a little while ago we had the sharp sour winds 
and the rains — day after day, the wind and the rain. 
Those were the sneezing times, the coughing times, . 
the tooth-ache and the face-ache times. It was hard 
to look upon the world then, as other than a very 
wet and cold affair. Now we counterpoise in the 
calm, the repose, the pomp of October. 

To-day, all things put on glory. Pureness, and 
beauty, and glory. These grow up together always ; 
the one from the other. Pureness and then beauty, 
and then the crown of glory which God places with 
his own hand on every perfected life. It is the 
water made wine, by the miracle of death. For 
death is not the Divine order of things, but' life. 
Not pain and trouble, not sinning and shame, not 
repentance and prayer, not struggle and labor, — 
but peace and joy, acclamation and hallelujahs, — 
the water made wine. Some excellent, well-mean- 



152 Country Margins. 

ing people think it the reverse of this — ^to wit : the 
wine made water. But, oh, no! Grod does not 
offer his children any such cup of dilution, but the 
fulness, (think of this, oh lame, and halt, and blind, 
and deaf, ailing and struggling and starving world, 
ponder well the promise,) the fulness of life. 

One cannot well say, to-day, — "Be not angry 
with us forever." We revolt at this, as unkind, 
unthankful. Surely not to-day, not to-day is He 
angry with us. Where is it written ? Let me see 
the handwriting, the autograph of the Most High. 
Where is it written that He is angry with \is? Not 
in the blue up there ! Not in the little white clouds 
which just now are forming from the morning 
mist, — ^not in the rich fruits of the earth, — ^not in 
this air tempered to the most exquisite finish of 
strength and enjoyment, — ^not in this soft white 
light, — not in the hearts of His people, for wherever 
this morning you find any weakest servant of His, 
you will find thanksgiving and praise, and a fiill 
measure at that, pressed down and rimning over, a 
well of waters springing up into everlasting life. 
Ah, if we could hear the utterance of their hearts, 
would it not be, "Thou, Thou art the King of 
Glory, O Christ ! Thou, who art the everlasting 
Son of the Father. Heaven and earth are fall of 
the Majesty of thy Glory." 

But these are all God's pure creations, and 
restorations, without sin, without responsibility. 
Looking beyond them, — ^into our own hearts, when 



Modern Stimulants. 153 

not in accord witli the true and the right, — ^into the 
actions of men, — ^into whatever -will live and bear 
record always, we then perceive the need of that 
petition, and the deeper we study the responsibilities 
of life, the greater the need and the more terrible 
the significance of those words, — " Be not angry 
with us forever." 

Of late — within a very few years — ^life has become 
cheap. Our life, I mean, and not that of cattle and 
brute things. I do not know it to be true, but it 
seems to me that cases of sudden death (apart from 
external violence) are much more frequent than we 
have ever known before. Of course, there must be 
a cause for this. "We live more upon stimulants 
than upon healthy nutriment. The stimulants of 
swift travel, of luxuries of eating and drinking, of 
music and parade and dress, of appetites, mental 
and moral, sharpened to indigestible consequences. 
These we live upon, mostly, and the first child born 
of this life is unchecked self-indulgence — ^pleasure — 
the having a satisfactory to-day, anyhow, and with- 
out regard to to-morrow. All this becomes, in the 
aggregate, a passion so overwhelming as to entirely 
overlook the very instrument by which whatever 
pleasure is received, namely : the life itself. Whether 
we shall so become accustomed to living faster than 
our fathers as finally to reach a certain poise and 
equilibrium, a clearness for giddiness, and strength 
for mere animal spirits ; whether we shall arrive at 
stability and speed combined, I am not shrewd 
7 



154 Country Maegibts. 

enougli to guess ; but no one ■will deny that, just 
now, we are continually blowing up, or running off 
tbe track, or knifeing, or clubbing, or shooting 
somebody, because something unpleasant has hap- 
pened. If we can show some sort of reason for 
taking a neighbor's life, it is counted sufficient ; espe- 
cially if we can make out that others in like circimi- 
stances would have been tempted to do the same. 
If it is natural, it must be right. In such cases, 
juries acquit, judges pardon, and editors applaud. 
At this rate, where, in the way of whirlwinds, are 
we to bring up ? 

A few days since a young girl in a distant city 
shot her betrayer, and the Register, commenting 
upon the facts, as they are reported, says, " She 
served Mm right." It is probable that most of your 
readers appreciated the spirit in which you said it, 
but, you will excuse me for going out of my beat, 
to show you how it looks to us here in the country. 
Let us talk it over, in a quiet way. 

And first, let me ask who has come down from 
Heaven to say that a ball through the brain is good 
and right for the seducer? Not any angel, — not 
Jesus of Nazareth — not the Holy Ghost. Nor is 
there any message left on record anywhere to that 
effect. The sentiment therefore must be of human 
origin. Accordingly, in the same article in the 
Register, we find a law proclaimed, higher than any 
of God's laws, and this higher law is supposed to 
rule in this case. This, of course, you do not put 



One of God's Laws. 155 

fortli as anything new, for there can be nothing new 
in morals. At any rate, it is not new. It is so com- 
mon that it may be called, -par excellence, " the com- 
mon law " of the world; It is the convenient law 
of human passion. It is the law of sin. It is ex- 
ceedingly popular, and carries a high hand in the 
affairs of the world. But it is something new to 
hear of it as being good and right. If, in this case 
in hand, there is anything that makes it seem right, 
it is probably some element of partial justice, to 
which we can say "amen" and pass on, without 
further investigation. 

One of God's laws commands that we "forgive 
others, as we ourselves hope to be forgiven." Now 
there may be existences, there may be groups of 
worlds peopled with beings of whom such a re- 
quirement never has been made, because unneces- 
sary, inasmuch as they themselves need no for- 
giveness. Such a people fulfilling aU law, we can 
imagine, may have certain judicial authority, over 
any intruders that may come among them of a lower 
order, or over any of their own number, who may 
be transgressors. At first thought this would seem 
likely, but looking deeper into the matter, we per- 
ceive that they would not be fit judges of matters 
beyond their own experience. It would be neces- 
sary to find some one who had been tempted with 
all manner of evil, and yet remained upright, and so 
maintained perfect clearness of perception and judg- 
ment as to what is right and what wrong. If such 



156 Country Makgiks. 

an one could be found, it would be perfectly safe to 
vest in l^im all judicial authority . 

Our case is different. We are all violators of law 
— State's prison birds, every man of us — and for us 
to set up judgment is to set up farce. Farce in fact, 
but tragedy of the bloodiest kind in its results. All 
we can properly do, is to change tbe venue to an- 
other world, and meanwhile keep the peace as well 
as we can, and wait untU we can all come into 
court together. And while we wait, this precept of 
forgiveness is all we have to live upon. It is liter- 
ally our meat and drink. It is not only (through 
mediation) divinely right, but it is the highest poli- 
cy, the wisest expediency that can possibly be de- 
vised. Without it, the world would go to pieces 
before sunset. It is absolutely all that keeps us 
alive. For we are all, as we say, in the same boat. 
People on board ship, in a storm, and with the prosr 
pect of wreck before them, are, for the most part, 
exceedingly kind and forgiving. (I speak of men, 
not devils.) All differences are overlooked — ^pistols 
laid aside, as not at all pertinent to the matter^^and 
every man bears a hand to avert the calamity. 

But scattered about as we are in the world, and 
in diverse ways of occupation, we forget the com- 
mon danger, — the lee-shore and the rocks, — ^and 
become hard and judicial. We set up higher laws, 
and walk about with an assured emphasis. 

As I am not addressing you especially, Mr. 
Editor, but only throwing out a word against the 



The Betrayed Q-irl. 157 

popular drift, will you permit me to talk on a little 
further? It is refreshing, sometimes, to get into 
commonplace. 

You may ask, — (I am putting up ,an imaginary 
editor) — " Do you not see the great moral force of 
punishment? of justice satisfied? of the fearful retri- 
bution which must follow transgression?" 

Yes — I see that — ^and more. I see — murder. I 
see that as long as reputable papers and warm- 
hearted men cry " hravo" the use of the knife and 
pistol will become exceedingly facile and con- 
venient. I see a time ahead, when if this continues, 
no man will dare to step into the street, until he has 
well pondered whether in his breakfast, or in his 
prayers, or in the cut of his coat, he has suited his 
opposite neighbor, who stands ready with a loaded 
pistol to blow his brains out, unless he is strictly 
orthodox in all these matters. Kind Heaven for- 
bid that I should compare these cases — I am speak- 
ing of tendencies and results. 

Furthermore, you admit that the law (human law) 
may regard this act of the betrayed girl, as crime. 
This, abstractly, is of no moment. Men. differ in 
opinion as to crime, but crime is not one thing to- 
day and another to-morrow ; one thing to me, and 
another to you. Facts are not disturbed or even 
modified by opinion or by human law. We take 
side views, cross views, wrong views, and always 
partial views, but in all this, we cast no shadow 
upon the white glory of truth. The shadows all 



158 CouNTEY Margins. 

fall the other way. Human action and thought are 
of course to be judged by facts, not opinions ; truth, 
not guesses or approximations. In this only rests 
the safety and stability of all of God's creations. 

There is trouble enough in the world, however 
bright it may look to you and me. Men are daily 
going mad by looking too long into these depths. 
It is scarcely possible to look down upon punish- 
ment, without being smitten and blasted by its near 
approach. We come back, singed and blackened 
with its smoke and fire. "We take within us some- 
thing of the spirit of the place. It is better, as it is 
how much pleasanter, to stay in Heaven's sunlight, 
where there is a way to meet every trouble and 
calamity that can happen to man (short of madness), 
and that is, not with submission only, but thankful- 
ness that God is caring for us in that special man- 
ner. We know then that He is close by. He is 
taking things in hand for us ; managing and order- 
ing our affairs, which, whether we knew it or not, 
were undoubtedly in a ruinous way. To resent 
this and fly in the face of Heaven with pistols, &c., 
— oh, this serves no one right, nor is it right in it- 
self. 

If it is, let us begin the work of death, right and 
left. It has been quoted as proof of God's omni- 
potence, as shown in his power over his own holy 
attributes, that He does not at once punish all trans- 
gression, or (as this would be, in effect) drop the 
world from His hand, as a worthless creation. Car- 



ASOLITABY No. 159 

ry out the purpose of serving everybody right to- 
day, and the sun and moon would look down to- 
night upon a dead world. In the fulness of time, 
this will come, but let us not hasten the day. 

But you win perhaps press the question close 
home upon me — " Did you not, as to that leaden 
ball which took the life of the seducer, say in your 
inmost heart, and with all your heart, that it served 
him right ?" 

Well, Mr. Editor, suppose I say yes, and suppose 
aU the world says " yes," — every man, woman and 
child on the face of the earth — ^what has that to do 
with it ? Suppose the vote were taken to-day, and 
the mingling ayes of aU the living hosts were to rise 
together, might there not possibly be one feeble 
voice heard thrilling through the uproar, one heart- 
broken child of sorrow, struggling through tears 
and agony to drown this mistaken kindness ? And 
might not this solitary "iVb" from a heart humbled 
and broken before God, be more likely to go up 
into Heaven than all the noisy affirmations that 
would go clamoring about the world? And if 
some one in Heaven were taking an account of the 
transaction, might it not read something like this — 
" Yote taken this morning on the earth, as to a ques- 
tion of right and justice. Messengers report that 
all the world voted aye, but nothing was heard 
here save one feeble 'No,' from a penitent child. 
The question is lost." 

" But," say you," let us take the world as we find 



160 Country Margins. 

it. We are not Gods. You have talked over a 
long string of moralities, whicli nobody denies, and 
for wMch no one is tlie wiser. Let us haVe some- 
thing practical. What is your reply ?" 

It is this, that I have not the remotest idea of 
"what is right, in such a case. I see no good result 
in such a terrible conclusion. Another crime is 
added, which in nowise mends the matter. An- 
other cause for sorrow, and the long, long nights of 
trembling and fear ; of misgiving and doubt, of 
horrors piled up breaker-like in tossing cpnfasion. 
I see the vista of life darkened and storm-troubledi 
in which shadows and lightnings play in fellowship. 
I hear voices in that gloom, as of people going 
about, saying " Served him right, served him right /" 
I see no light there, no landscape of peace, no glory 
of October. It is winter thereaway and night ! 
Oh, thou Christ, who art the joy of the world, stay 
with us always, and be our noon-day of light for- 
ever ! 

No, I can't take upon myself to know what is 
right as a just punishment for another orfor myself ; 
nor am I required to puzzle my brain about it. 
But if there is any highway of escape, any ransom, 
tell me about that. I came into the world only a 
few years ago, and can't make out to see very far, 
as yet, or very clearly. The confusion is great ; 
the light and shade intermingle, and cheat the eye 
continually with false distances, and false bearings, 
and false magnitudes. Only one thing seems tolera- 



The Pippins in the Obchaed. 161 

bly plain — ^that light and darkness are diverse — ^that 
you can't make one out of tlie other — that you may 
as well expeet a lamb from a wild-cat, as good from 
evil. They won't breed together. They won't live 
together. They go contrary ways, though they meet 
often, and always to clash, and part, and come together 
again, fighting to the last gasp. One or the other must 
go to the wall, some day. This, I beheve, is getting to 
bethe general opinion. We can't live so forever. Pa- 
tience wUl be worn out, forbearance exhausted, and 
there will be a general uprising of all souls that have 
ever lived from Adam down, and a universal prayer 
and shout will go up to Heaven from men, angels, 
and devils, that the combatants be parted, and sent, 
each to some prepared place, with such a gulf and 
high walls between, as wiU keep them forever 
asunder. 

With a view to this, God has long ago set apart 
a special day — the last of this administration — when, 
without doubt, and without contingency, everybody 
will be " served right. ' 

Yours, . 



" However, let us pause over it and take it down slowjy, as 
the boys do the pippins in the orchard." 

There are memories that come clustering about 
these "boys," these "pippins," and the "orchard." 
Do you remember the old Cider Mill, friend Mar- 
7* 



162 Country Makgins. 

GINS, and tlie old horse as he travelled roimd and 
round, moving with a slow and dignified tread) 
" hitched" to the long lever that turned the wooden 
mill that crushed the apples into pummice ? Do 
you remember the great " cheese" in its bandage 
of straw beneath the press, and how, when the great 
screws were turned in the massive gallows-shaped 
frame, the rich juice of the apple came gushing out 
and running into the great tub placed to receive it ? 
Do you remember how, with a straw, the urchins, 
as they came along on their way home from school, 
filled themselves with sweet cider from the bung of 
the barrel ? Do you remember how in the long 
winter nights you sat around the fire-place wherein 
logs were blazing, and how the pitcher of cider 
and the platter of doughnuts were placed upon the 
old cherry table that sat out in the middle of the 
kitchen, and how you helped yourself to the cider 
and the doughnuts, and how happy each one was 
as he sat with his pewter mug of cider in one hand 
and a doughnut in the other before that old-fash- 
ioned kitchen fire-place? Those were pleasant 
times. -But they are memories now. And then 
the apple parings, or "bees," as they were called, 
when the young men and maidens came together to 
pare apples, and talk and laugh and play old-fash- 
ioned plays, and say soft things to one another and 
eat pumpkin pies, and be happy after the fashion of 
the country people when you and I were yoxmg. 
Primitive times those were, friend Margins, and 



The Favorite Apple-Tbee. 163 

our proud daughters and city dames would turn up 
their noses hugely were they to be present at an 
old-fashioned apple-bee, such as they used to have 
out in old Steuben when the country was new, and 
the fashions were primitive. 

We remember, when we were young, there was 
a favorite tree in our father's orchard which bore 
choice winter apples. It was called the big tree, 
because it was the largest in the orchard. The 
fruit of this tree was always left xintil the last, and 
was gathered with great care. There was a worth- 
less fellow living in the neighborhood who one year 
coveted a portion of the fruit on the "big tree," 
and was not deterred from its acquisition by the 
divine commandment, "thou shalt not steal." A 
quantity of the apples disappeared one night, and 
the tracks of whoever stole them had a strange re- 
semblance to those made by the heelless boots of 
our dishonest neighbor. There were two insepara- 
ble friends on the old homestead in those early 
days ; the One a " colored gentleman," by the name 
of Shadrach, who came to our father's possession in 
payment for a debt, and who ran away regularly 
two or three times a year, and then as regularly ran 
back again, just as his master began to indulge the 
hope that he had got rid of him for good. The 
other was a great dog, half mastiff and half bull, of 
^ noble presence and a fearless courage. " Drive" 
and " Shadrach" were inseparable. They worked 
and played together, slept together in the same Joft, 



164 Country Margins. 

and Shadxacli never ate a meal while tlie dog lived, 
at least at home, without sharing it with his canine 
friend. He would talk with Drive for hours 
when they were alone, and although the dog didn't 
say much himself, yet Shadrach said a good 
many things, and laid down and argued out a great 
many queer propositions, against which Drive 
uttered not a word of dissent. 

One chilly night in October, Shadrach and Drive 
had been out along the cornfields on an imsuccess- 
ful coon hunt. On their return the dog dashed off 
through the orchard, and in a minute or two com- 
menced barking, and Shadrach of course supposed' 
he had treed a coon on one of the fruit-trees. Now, 
Shadrach had an abiding faith in spiritual manifes- 
tations, and stood in mortal fear of " the gentleman 
in black," and all manner of spooks in general. 
Upon arriving at the "big tree" by the foot of 
which Drive sat, and looking up among the branches, 
he saw there in the darkness a great black object, 
with something which seemed like a winding sheet 
in its hand. Shadrach's hair began to uncurl as he 
looked, and hallooing " seek him" to Drive, broke 
like a quarter nag for the house. He bolted breath- 
lessly into the kitchen, exclaiming, " Massa, Massa 1 
Drive got de debble in de big apple-tree !" "What 
is that, you woolly-pated rhinoceros ?" replied his 
master. "Drive got de debble treed on de big 
apple-tree I" repeated the negro. A torch was 
lighted, and upon going into the orchard, there sat 



The Thief in the Apple-Teee. 165 

our thievish neighbor among the branches, with a 
bag half filled with the coveted fruit. Our father 
said not a word to him, but after giving Shadrach 
certain directions, returned quietly to the house. 
Old Shadrach laid his jacket down by the root of 
the apple-tree, and ordering Drive to watch it, 
said to the occupant of the tree, " Look hea, you 
brack tief, you come down, and Drive eat you 
head off sartain. ITgly dog dat. Eat a white tief 
up like a coon, sure. Roost up dare like turkey, 
yah! yah!" Shadrach went to his loft, and laid 
himself quietly away. When the day broke, there 
was the thief in the tree, and there was Drive watch- 
ing him. When the sun rose they were there. The 
negro gave Drive his breakfast, and left him his 
jacket and the man in the tree to watch. Our 
father and the " boys," of whom we were one, went 
to husking corn in the orchard. Ten o'clock came, 
and there was the dog at the roots, and the man 
perched among the branches of the "big apple- 
tree." The horn sounded for dinner, and when we 
returned the two were there still. The thief called 
beseeching to our father to allow him to come 
down. "WeII,"was the reply, "why don't you 
come down ?" " This infernal dog will eat me up 
if I do," said the thief. " Very likely," was the 
calm rejoinder, and we went on husking the corn. 
Once or twice the occupant of the apple-tree, after 
coaxing and flattering the dog, attempted to de- 
scend, but Drive's ivory warned him of his peril, and 



166 CouNTEY Margins. 

lie went back to his perch. There never was another 
human being in such ecstasies all the day as was that 
negro. " Yah ! yah !" he would break out in an un- 
controllable cachinnation, and then roll and haUoo, 
and yah I yahl among the corn-stalks, until you 
could hear him a mile. The sun went down be- 
hind the hills, and there still was the thief and the 
dog. We all went in to supper, and in the twilight 
of the evening, in pity to the famished and fright- 
ened culprit, the dog was withdrawn, and he was 
permitted to slink away home. He never stole 
apples again, or anything else from our father, while 
Drive and old Shadrach remained on the farm. 

" A few days since, a young girl in a distant city shot her 
betrayer, and the Register, commenting upon the facts, as they 
are reported, says, ' She served him right.' " 

We read one day in a Western paper that a man 
had secured, by the seducer's arts, the affections of 
a confiding and inexperienced girl; that he had 
tempted her to leave her home and those whom she 
loved, and who loved her; that, confiding in his 
promises, and leaning upon his faith, she had gone 
with him to a distant city, where he was to make 
her his wife. That, delaying under various pretexts 
the performance of his vows, he succeeded in rob- 
bing her of her virtue, and then left her desolate 
and penniless, unprotected and alone, in a strange 
city. That when she sought him out, and claimed 
the performance of his plighted word, he threw her 



She Served Him Eight. 167 

from him in scorn, like a worthless weed, away. 
That in her despair, and smarting under her match- 
less wrongs, she smote hinj to death at her feet. 
Upon reading this account of the gigantic wicked- 
ness, the iron cruelty of her betrayer, we said, and 
we say again, "She served him right;" and herein 
it will be seen that we struck a chord that roused 
up the latent energies of our friend Margins, and 
brought forth his inward might. 

We spoke of hximan nature as God made it. We 
spoke of man as he is, exercising the attributes of 
humanity ; of human instincts and sympathies, and 
passions, as they are. We took the heart of man 
as it came from the hands of Deity, fashioned as He 
fashioned it, quick with all its natural yearnings 
and finite pulsations. We spoke of right and 
wrong, as human judgment views them ; of retri- 
bution weighed in human scales, and, measuring 
the infliction of the punishment in this isolated case 
by the vastness of the wrong committed, we said 
that the act which swept the seducer from among 
the living, " served him right." 

The murderer who is taken with the blood of 
innocence fresh upon his hand, is doomed by the 
law to death, and through the -agency of the gallows 
or the axe he is launched into eternity. Does any- 
body say that the law does not " serve him right ?" 
Who preaches forgiveness to the law ? Who talks 
to the law about exercising the attributes of Deity? 
Or requires it to leave the punishment of the mur- 



168 CouNTKY Margins. 

derer to God ? Who asks the law to -uncoil itself 
from around its victim, and let him go forth to slay 
anev? Nobody. Well, why does the law hang 
the murderer, the traitor to his country, the incen- 
diary who fires your dwelling in which your little 
ones are sleeping ? What is the principle of the 
thing, the philosophy of this matter ? " Serves him 
right" is the maxim underlaying all penal codes — 
" Serves him right" is the authority, the great fun- 
damental truth whereon is based all human, aye, 
and divine systems, too, of rewards and punish- 
ments. It is useless to argue the propriety or pohcy 
of the death penalty now. Wiser men than we are, 
friend Maegins, have been arguing that question 
for a good many hundred years, and have not set- 
tled it yet. " Serves him right," says the judge, as 
he did when the argument commenced. " Serves 
him right," says the executioner, as he brandishes 
his axe. " Serves him right," says the law, as the 
head of the culprit falls. Mark, the act which the 
law thus performs is one of retribution, based upon 
the crime of the culprit. • It is justice, weighing out 
punishment for wrong, adjusting the degree of the 
one to the enormity of the other. Nobody blames 
the law for inflicting death, or the officers who are 
the ministers of the law. In the case of the mur- 
derer, the law affixes the penalty, and appoints the 
method of its enforcement. It is legal justice, but 
based upon a higher principle of natural justice. 
True, one object of the penal code which affixes 



The Midnight Culpeit. 169 

the death penalty, is to protect society from tte 
repetition of outrage, and some have claimed that 
another object of punishment was the reformation 
of the culprit, but we never knew the morals of a 
man to be improved by hanging, or having his head 
cut off. 

Well, we assume that the law when it takes the 
life of the murderer, " Serves him right," deals out to 
him a just measure of punishment. Do you agree 
with us in this, friend Margins? Yes! Then 
we have advanced one step in the argument. 

Now remember that the law, and the judge, and 
the executioner are but instruments wielded by jus- 
tice to do an act of retribution. It is not always 
right to kill a man because the law sanctions the 
act. The word of an absolute monarch is the law 
of his dominions, yet when he says an honest man 
shall die, and strikes off his head, it is not right. 
It cannot be said of the sentence and the sufferer, 
" It served him right." The law doomed the mar- 
tyrs to the flames, but it did not " serve them right." 
Why ? Because there was no great moral wrong, 
commensurate with the magnitude of the punish- 
ment, committed, to give vitality to the right and 
power of the law to take life. The great ingredient 
of crime was wanting. We give these illustrations 
for the purpose of showing that it is not the might 
of the law that makes it right. The murderer is 
deserving of death independently of human laws. 
Is the culprit who slays at midnight and hides his 



170 OOUKTRY MARGIN'S. 

victim, the less deserving of punislimeiit .because 
his crime cannot be proven in a court of justice ? 
Is lie any the less guilty because he has concealed 
his crime from the clear knowledge of the world, 
and is he therefore the less deserving of punish- 
ment? 

In the dark annals of iniquity there can be no 
crime of a deeper dye than that of him who coils 
himself in the confidence, nestles in the warm affec- 
tions of a trusting girl, and under the solemn prom- 
ise of marriage, robs her of more than life, and then 
leaves her to the cold scorn of the world, to wan- 
der, hopeless and companionless, through long des- 
olate years, to find a grave of infamy and sorrow at 
last. Think of the mother's heart crushed, and the 
father's anguish. Such a man commits more than 
murder. He kills the body by a lingering agony, 
and destroys the soul. Had he slain his victim at 
once, you and I, friend Margins, would have said, 
while we looked upon her moveless corpse, and his 
hand red with her blood, "this man shall die." 
We would have handed him over to the law, to the 
judge and the executioner, as the ministers of a just 
retribution, and bid them spare not. When the 
sentence that doomed him to death had been exe- 
cuted, we should have said, " served him right." 
Aye, in looking upon his great crime, and the gal- 
lows upon which he was hanging, with the last 
pulsation of life choked out of him, looking upon 
only these two great facts, and without a thought 



Just Measttbe of Eeteibutiobt. 171 

of tlie process -whicli suspended him there, we would 
say — " This is a just measure of retribution." "It 
serves him right." But here was a crime greater 
than a simple murder — a crime which inflicts a 
lingering death, and destroys a soul, and when we 
remember the gigantic wickedness of the destroyer, 
and see him struck down even by a felon blow, will 
we not still say, "served him right?" Eemember, 
we are speaking now only of his deserts — of a just 
measure of retribution so far as Ae is concerned, 
neither more nor less. If he points to the wound 
that is killing him, and claims our sympathy as a 
wronged man, as suffering a penalty beyond the 
measure of his deserts, we might be moved to pity 
for his fate, but when we looked upon the desolate 
and crushed victim of his heartless villany, every 
instinct of our nature would still say — " served him 
right." Were he standing on the verge of the pre- 
cipice that towers above the boiling eddies of Niag- 
ara, with the cry of his victim mingling with the 
roar of the waters, as she struggled to pull him 
down, when we saw him reeling to his fall, we 
might, in mercy, reach forth a hand to save him, 
but if before we could do so he should disappear 
over the beetling cliffs, while we might be shocked 
at his terrible doom, we should stUl say — " served 
him right." And what matters it whether this 
retribution is measured out by the law, or by the 
hand of the individual wronged, we mean so far as 
the wrong-doer is concerned? 



172 Country Margins. 

Now we beseecli you, friend Margins, to under- 
stand us. "We could say to his victim and his 
slayer, " You are all wrong ; you have broken the 
law; you have violated the social compact; you 
have transgressed against the commandment of 
God." In short, friend Margins, we could repeat 
to her your excellent sermon and endorse it all, and 
yet say as between her and her seducer alone, " she 
served him right." Think you, that her seducer, 
when he stands before the throne of eternal justice, 
will be heard, when he complains of the wrong he 
has suffered ? "Wrong there is doubtless, sin to be 
answered for, but it will not be wrong against the 
villain seducer, the destroyer of innocence, not 
against him. The sin is against God and his law, 
and when this controversy between the seducer and 
his victim shall be settled in Heaven's chancery, 
the verdict as between the two will be, " served him 
right." 



XIII. 

NELLY. 

Dear Editor, have you not a young Bob, or 
Dick or Tom, to come up and play witli our Nelly ? 
K, you have, send hinn up, and we will return him to 
you in the spring, fat and strong with corned beef 
and country air. We want a companion for Nelly, 
lest she should become plulosophioal and grand. 
She ' has been with us but a few weeks, but is 
already rather didactic, and asking questions quite 
impossible to answer. I think some of writing a 
profound treatise on life, beginning with Nelly as 
a foundation, and coming up into mature years with 
the child as a continual reference and standard of 
values. 

I imagine it would be seen (as Macaulay says in 
the opening of his great history, it will he seen — it 
will he seen), that notwithstanding what St. Paul 
says of putting away childish things — children are 
mostly in the right, and that for many of us to walk 
back instead of onward, would be the wiser course. 
It certainly is a beautiful arrangement that the 
world is being constantly supplied with new begin- 



174 COUNTEY Maegins. 

ners, creatures direct from God, and tliat so per- 
petual newness and freslmess is continually kept 
up. 

We talk of Adam and Eve as having been, be- 
fore the fall, in a very happy condition ; but one 
thing they missed — ^they -were never children. They 
never rode horse on a stick, or went to bed with a 
doll. If they had begun life, little by little, line 
upon line, seeing, and hearing, and thinking, and 
acting slowly, and in a small way, but experiment- 
ally always, as do their children, and i^ like them, 
they had tumbled down stairs, seen stars on the ice, 
burned their fingers, and in thousands of ways 
stumbled and bruised themselves upon certain phy- 
sical laws, hard thumping evidences of order and 
sequence, would they, oh my excellent editor, would 
they have eaten the apple ? And may not the order 
of Providence, in their history, have been to show 
not merely that all creatures must rely wholly upon 
him absolutely and unconditionally as their life and 
strength, but that this life and strength must be that 
of slow and gradual accumulation ; that, in short, we 
must toddle before we can walk? 

And however sad may have been the giving up 
of that Eden, it was the place where the apple grew. 
It had its temptation, and what more have we? 
Day by day thousands are born into life, who, if 
they stay for any time, must be led out, with what- 
ever kindness and whatever words of hope and love, 
by the same hand, from the garden of childhood 



Little Nelly Fast Asleep, 175 

into the cold and dark contrasts of struggling life. 
Tlie gates are forever opening and closing upon the 
little ones, and just in proportion as they have 
deeply felt the joy and beauty of their first days, 
and the strife and temptation of the days beyond, 
"Will they go forth with saddened faces and with care- 
ful steps. Thanks be to God, there is one who has 
been before them, and who knows the way right 
weU. 

A flower is a pretty thing with its color and soft- 
ness, and its modest joyfolness of expression ; so 
may be a picture, better than whatever piece of 
inanimate nature, but when you have the flower 
and picture embodied in flesh and blood, walking 
and running about, talking, laughing, siiJging little 
songs and hymns and glorias all in a mix, question- 
ing, wondering, and rejoicing always, or on its knees 
talking with the Unseen, teUing Him some little 
trouble and asking for guidance and help — then you 
have a little piece of Heaven upon earth ; a young 
sprout of intelligence fresh from God himself, placed 
here to grow up into strength and beauty, and at 
last, under His care, to return to Him in His own 
home ; accepted, restored, saved it may be as by fire, 
but crowned now with eternal glory. 

Have you never, Mr. Editor, in the dead of night, 
with some little NeUy lying close by, fast asleep 
with a doll on either side, and her hair floating 
over her face, have you never felt the insane desire 
to have some burglar enter the room, so that you 



176 CouNTEY Margins. 

might shatter him into ten thousand fragments? 
Hare you never felt the power which Kelly would 
give to the right arm which would hurl him down 
the hall-stairs and smash the wash-bowl on his pre- 
posterous brain? And would it be all because 
Nelly is so helpless ? So we say, but that is not 
all. It is because she is pure, and no breath of 
harm must come to her. "We act, in such cases, in 
God's behalf. The angels, perhaps, are with us, 
those who behold the face of the Father. They — 
it may be — give the strength, or the heart's blood. 
We take care of these little ones, as the Israelites 
did of the ark of the covenant. Let nothing pro- 
fane come here — no rude hand, or word, or thought, 
for it is ^oly ground. This is why a man may 
think or speak evil in a temple of worship, or 
whatever holiest moment or place, but not before a 
little child, not before one of God's pure witnesses. 
Nelly and I are getting slowly acquainted. 
Yesterday, being rainy, she was busy for a long 
time putting my hair in papers, after which she 
advised a walk on the piazza, to give a set to the 
curls, as that, she said, was the way they did out 
"West. At night some of the papers were examined, 
but not looking well, she recommended me to keep 
them on all night, which accordingly I did, and 
got up this morning with a headache. But the 
whole thing, my dear editor, was a most melancholy 
failure. Such was yesterday. To-day she is writ- 
ing — ^something important, no doubt — with a sharp 



Peecocious Children. 177 

stick ■which she is continually dipping in my ink- 
stand. Her great distress — ^when she has any dis- 
tress — ^is in the b-a-ba, k-e-r ker, line — as in making 
e-a-r-t-h into ur^, the phUosophy of which is too 
deep for her. How much falsehood is hinted in 
this and the like orthographical lies, or how much 
faith in the necessity of believing such monstrous 
absurdities, would be a new question to discuss. 
But these light troubles are soon over. Five 
minutes after such a tribulation, she will be swing- 
ing violently in the great rocker, with both dolls in 
her arms, to whom she pours forth songs with a 
die-away sentimentality and occasional cracked- 
voice apphmb, that is sometimes very exciting. 

Oh, my kind Editor, the world is safe as long aa 
children are bom into it. If that arrangement 
should ever cease, if men and women should spring 
up, or be dropped down ready-made, we might as 
well give up at once. There would be such a panic 
and stampede as the world has never seen. Some- 
thing approaching to this is unfortunately taking 
place ia these latter days; children are not per- 
mitted to be children, but with fearful precocity 
are made up rapidly into men and women. This 
is the way you have in town. But the cities — ^let 
us be thankful — do not contain everybody. There 
is a connection with God and Heaven still kept up, 
. through the country and country hfe, Hereia is 
the safety of the world, and of govermjient, and the 
perpetuity of good iastitutions-rr-that you cannoib 
8 



178 CouNTET Margins. 

wall in the country, you cannot pave the lakes, and 
the prairies, and the rivers; you cannot shut out 
the blue sky and the stars, you cannot fence in the 
mountains, you cannot bowl out the salt sea, and 
make streets and build palaces there. God reserves 
to Himself all these, and permits to those who like 
them, the self-confidence of streets and common 
councils, saying, however, that except He keep the 
city, the watchman watcheth but in vain. 

The time must come, Mr. Editor, when we shall 
perceive that much of our crazy life here, is merely 
exclamatory — that it is demonstrative of not much 
more than noise and general dissatisfaction — a con- 
tinual running up of wrong stairs — an incessant 
shouting as to views and prospects — one crying lo 
here! another, to there! the great sight consisting, 
perhaps, in some splendid fog-bank, glittering in 
borrowed light, and itself continually shifting and 
passing away. When we shall be willing to come 
down to simple statements — such as that little Nelly 
has more life and wisdom than the telegraph can 
report in a thousand years — ^we shall get along 
better. When we shall perceive and carry it out, 
as we say (but that is not quite enough ; we must 
carry it out, and bring it in, travel with.it, work 
with it, eat and drink with it, and go to bed and 
get up with it), that the intellect is nearly as much 
a mere instrument as the body, and of no use save 
as an instrument; that, with all its glorification, 
it never creates, but only finds out (invents) what 



Love of L ittle Children. 179 

God had before created, and to wliicli He alone 
gives form and life ; we shall become more qmet 
(shall we not?) and return again to children and 
principles. 

But that day is not our day, and before it arrivesi 
tbe world wiU doubtless continue to try what virtue 
there is in stones and mortar, and iron and light- 
ning, and all other aggrandizing physical and men- 
tal forces, to an extent quite beyond our wildest 
conjecture. To-day (in this movement) we have 
the dinner, and the dollar, and the lightning train : 
generous and magnanimous, but extravagant — and 
material to the back-bone. "When the good day 
comes, it will be (as far as human agencies are per- 
mitted), through the proper training of children, as 
nearest to God and the true life. 

Yours, . 



" Have you not a young Bob, or Dick, or Tom, to come np 
and play with our Nbllt ?" 

No. "We have no young Bob, or Dick, or Tom, 
to do any such thing ; we have no little boys of 
that name. "We have no litik children at all ; we 
wish we h.ad a half a dozen of them, if they would 
always remain so. "We love little children. One 
of our neighbors has a pure artless little girl that 
we borrow occasionally, when we feel sad, or out of 
sorts with the world, and her pleasant voice and 
childish prattle, as she sits beside us, always drive 



180 CouNTBY Margins. 

away melanclioly, and make us clieerful again. 
We love little boys and girls. We love their frank, 
straightforward simplicity, their honesty. They 
seem like fresh things, pure from the hand of God, 
unspoiled by contact with the corruptions and the 
wickedness of the world. What a pleasant place 
this Earth would be, if grown men and women, 
with their learniag, their gathered experience, their 
matured iatellect, their wisdom, could retain the 
honest frankness, the freshness, the purity of heart 
and the sincerity of childhood ! It would be a place 
then that one might be loath to leave. We do not 
undertake to impeach the wisdom of Deity. We 
know we are all wrong, but the thought will some- 
times steal into our mind, that it would have been 
better had man been created with less natural pro- 
clivities towards evil. That the world would have 
been happier, and human destiny loftier, had man 
been so constituted that it would not have been his 
tendency, prima facie, as the lawyers say, to sin ; 
had a nature been given him that would have led 
liiTn through the instincts with which he was en- 
dowed, to choose good rather than evU. 

" Oh 1 my kind editor, the world is safe as long as children 
are bom into it." 

We deny this, as an abstract proposition. We 
deny it as a practical truth. We hold it as an 
absurdity in theory, as well as fact. The past his- 
tory of the world demonstrates its fallacy. Why, 



TheG-aedenof Eden. 181 

when has the world been " safe," we should like to 
know? "We have its history for seven thousand 
years, or thereabouts, and it has never been in a 
substantially safe condition for an hour. Society 
has never been safe. Civilization has never been 
safe. The people have never been safe. Human 
rights have never been safe. Eeligion has never 
been safe. Nothing that pertains to the full intel- 
lectual or moral stature of manhood has been safe. 
The great earth has been overwhelmed by a flood. 
Geologists teU us, and astronomers endorse what 
they say, that it has, at some period of its existence, 
been run into by a comet ; and how do we know 
that even now, away off millions upon millions of 
miles distant, some wandering meteor in outer space 
is not on its way to knock this our planet into a 
universal smash ? But you mean the intellectual, 
the moral world. No matter, even in that view the 
world has never been safe since At)Am and Eve 
were created and placed in the Garden of Eden. 
By the way, that was a beautiful allegory of the first 
man and woman, and the Garden of Eden. It was 
humanity devoid of sin — ^living intelligences that 
had done no evil. They were supremely happy, 
because they were good. The Garden of Eden, 
with all its beautiful productions, its flowers, its 
fruits, its fountains and running streams, its shady 
groves, its green lawns and its singing-birds, was 
the human heart overflowing with contentment and 
joy, before wickedness invaded it, to poison its 



182 Country Margiits. 

fature, to sow remorse, and sorrow, and strife, wliere 
virtue and peace only had before thriven. 

But the world was in danger, even while Adam 
and Eve were in the garden of Eden. There was 
danger that Eve would eat the forbidden fruit, and 
then tempt Adam to his fall. That danger was 
realized, and they were thrust forth into the outer 
world. Was there less danger there ? Was there 
no danger that Cain should become a murderer, or 
that Abel should be slain ? Pass along down to 
the time of NoAH. Was there no danger that the 
world should become so cojrupt that God would 
destroy it in His wrath? Was there no danger, 
when there could be found among aU the millions of 
living men and women of the world, but one family 
worth saving from the destruction which the Deity 
had denounced against the human race? Was there 
no danger at a later period, that a time would come 
when the only just man iu all the world, the only 
one that was without a fault, without one stain of 
sin, one that was pure as Heaven is pure, should 
be betrayed, and crucified between thieves on the 
cross? Further along still, was there no danger 
when moral and inteUeotual darkness hung like a 
pall over Europe, when the religion of the cross had 
degeneratedinto asenseless mummery, when its high 
and holy precepts were perverted to the uses of op- 
pression, when profligacy characterized the priest- 
hood, and a brutalizing bigotry possessed the laity, 
was there no danger that the world should have 



Nothing Free From Danger. 183 

gone back to tlie darkness of idolatry, and the deg- 
radation of heathenism? Was there no danger 
that civilization should have been extinguished, that 
human liberty should have become an obsolete term, 
and human rights have been obliterated from the 
vocabulary of the world? Was there no danger 
that the light of science should have been put out, 
and the fountains of knowledge that -have since 
gushed so gloriously, irrigating and fertilizing these 
latter days, have remained sealed forever ? Coming 
down nearer to the present, was there no danger 
when infidelity spread over Europe like a consum- 
ing fire ? When France, then the strongest and the 
greatest, the most elegant and refined nation in the 
world, bloated with infidelity, and teeming with 
unspeakable corruption, in the great legislative con- 
vocation of her statesmen decreed that " there was 
no God, and that death was an eternal sleep ?" Is 
there no danger now, to-day, that the world, in the 
pride of its fancied progress towards perfectibility, 
shall forget, in the glory of the present, the mighty 
sequence of the future ? Is religion safe ? Are hu- 
man rights safe? Are governmental institutions 
safe ? Are the public morals of the world safe ? If 
the world is safe, why is it that every philosopher, 
great and small, whether of science, morality, gov- 
ernment, or of religion, are tinkering it, driving a 
rivet here, and soldering up a crack there, polishing 
this rusty spot, and placing a strengthening brace in 
that weak place — all patching, and mending, and 



184 CouNTBY Margins. 

hammering at it forever ? No I No I The worid 
is not safe, never has been safe, and never will be 
safe for an hour. And yet, from the time that Adam 
and Eve went forth from the garden of Eden, chil- 
dren have been bom into the world. Every day, 
every hour, every second of time there are new in- 
telhgences, fresh from the hand of Deity, added to 
the aggregated intellectuality of the world. New 
souls are thrown forward on the wing, to perch for 
a httle while in this world, and rest at last somewhere 
in eternity. Childhood, we admit, is an institution 
that exercises a conservative influence over the 
world, but the power of rendering the world '^^safe " 
is a task too gigantic for its accomplishment. 

" "We talk of Adam and Eve as having been, before the fall, 
in a very happy condition ; but one thing they missed — ^they 
were never children." 

True. We never thought of that. Adam never 
played marbles. He never played " hokey." He 
never drove a tandem of boys with a string. He 
never skated on a pond or played "ball," or rode 
down hill on a hand-sleigh. And Eve, she never 
made a playhouse ; she never took tea with another 
little girl from the little tea-table set out with the 
toy tea things ; she never rolled a hoop or jumped 
a rope, or pieced a baby quilt, or dressed a doll. 
They never played "blind man's buff," or "pussy 
wants a comer," or "hurly burly," or any of the 



Adam AND Eve ko Childhood. 185 

games with -wMcli childliood disports itself. How 
blank their age must have been, wherein no memo- 
ries of early youth came welling up in their hearts, 
no visions of childhood floating back from the long 
past, no mother's voice chanting a lullaby to the 
ear of fancy in the stiQ hours of the night, no 
father's words of kindness speaking from the grave 
in the church-yard where he sleeps I APAivr and 
Eve, and they alone of all the countless millions of 
men and women that have ever lived, had no child- 
hood. 



XIV. 

DRKAMS. 

"Well," said I to my wife, "there is nothing 
new under the sun, even in dreams." 

A few mornings since, as we sat at breakfiist, I 
had recounted to that lady and our Nelly a curious 
dream, which had occupied me through part of the 
night, the novelty of which was, that at a large 
family dinner T was charmingly surprised by hear- 
ing the whole party chant a grace before taking 
seats at the table. The thing was unique, as well 
as g-roce-fol, and so transparently proper, that I 
wondered it had never occurred to me before. 

"Well, sir, as the gentle people say, what do you 
think? I find, to-night, in a letter from Mr. Charles 
Taylor, published in the Tribune, that chanting of 
grace before meat is actually practised at this very 
day among the Chinese ; and it's not unlikely, my 
dear Editor, though I grieve to say it, destroying, 
unmercifully as it does, the originahty of the most 
exquisite night-thought which I ever had — ^I say it 
is quite probable that those shaven-headed, pig- 
tailed chop-stickers, have been doing it for thou- 



Trifles Light as Air. 187 

sands of years. So mucli for trying to dream some- 
thing new. 

However, it was new to me, as a new star to an 
astronomer. I am quite confident the thought had 
never entered my brain before, imless, indeed, it 
had crept in slyly and taken a place in some remote 
comer, without waking my consciousness. Is this 
possible, Mr. Editor? Is it not an absurdity? Can 
we be taken possession of by thoughts and mental 
processes, without being a party to the transaction? 
as, after leaving our hall door open all day, we may 
be surprised by an interloper at midnight, who 
hasn't so much as turned a key or raised a window 
to effect an entrance. Are we to be confronted by 
ghosts, who claim an acquaintance, a place in our 
house, and a seat at our table, whom we never saw 
in the flesh, and all upon the villanous plea that 
they had a nice time, one day, in our cellar or gar- 
ret? Heaven only knows what vividness, what 
terrible meaning may one day gleam upon us from 
thoughts light as air, which we play with, or toss 
from the mind as trifles and things of no account, 
or from that daily crowd to which we open all our 
doors and windows, and would take off the roof 
from our house, if necessary, to let them in. Must 
we not be amused and diverted ? Are we not to 
have a good time, I ask you ? Is not this the ob- 
ject of life — ^the be-all and the end-all — ^that we 
should have a good time ; and have it right away. 



188 OouNTKY Margins. 

to-day, because we are a i^t people, and wide 
awake ? 

Any one who follows up tlie line of these sugges- 
tions without a cold shudder, must have a cool brain 
and high expectations. No doubt, there are thou- 
sands in the world who would gladly be excused, 
if it were possible, from this mysterious life, as being 
too weighty, too solemn, too terrible in its possible 
conclusions. 

The process of thought — the way it acts — the 
place where it lives — ^the quo modo of its first pulsa- 
tion, as a living thing — something which a moment 
ago was not, had no place in the universe (to me), 
and now is — ^has begun life — ^has character and 
meaning, and a length of days which is eternal — 
will always be with me, whether I choose, or do not 
choose — which I cannot bum, or bury (beyond 
resurrection), which I can give to another, but must 
keep always the stereotype from which it was first 
printed — which, in fact, is now, not a thing external 
to me, as my coat or my body even ; but a part of 
myself, the destruction of which never can take 
place, trifling as it may be, without involving the 
destruction of my whole being, so that if that die, 
then I die with it-^all this, not so much from its 
mystery as from its plainness, its demonstrative 
horror, and its reach into the infinite and the abso- 
lute, I dare not discuss. Nor would I sully, with 
my tame conjecture, the starry grandeur of this 



Cheistianizing the World. 189 

topic — ^its beauty of possible result — ^its fellowship of 
glory with tbe Father of Spirits. 

But it is easy to imagine that the perception of 
this truth in all its bearings would Christianize the 
world in a moment, so that for the first time since 
men have gone abroad in the world, there would be 
a universal pause among aU nations, and kindred, 
and tongues — ^the noisy business of life would cease, 
and there would be heard in the crowded city, and 
upon the seas, and in the valleys, and upon the 
mountains, only the voice of prayer and praise and 
supplication to the Most High. Something like this 
is doubtless imagined by those who hold that the 
intellectual and the moral necessarily carry with them 
the Christian influence ; whose faith is, that to see, 
is to believe ; to know, is to adopt and to act. But 
this broad way of suggestion, looking apparently 
into the darkest mystery of our being, is closed (not 
far down) by an iron door, whose bolts and bars 
yield only to the touch of God himself. The pal- 
pable sight of Hell and Heaven, the darkness and 
the light, the confusion and the order, the woe un- 
utterable, and the peace which passeth all under- 
standing, would offer no barrier or inducement to 
the soul which chooses to be guided by its own 
will, and to be its own God. This must be ; i: e. it 
must be that the intuitions of this life as to the next, 
however feeble, are, in the main, correct. One can- 
not imagine what Heaven is in its extent, but he 
can imagine, and does imagine, and that truly, whe- 



190 CouNTKY Margins. 

ther it would suit him. Therefore it is that all 
philosophy, all morality, all science, all churches 
and ministries, all struggle and labor and prayer, 
are dead as ashes for all purposes of an hereafter, 
unless given to Christ, who alone, as he xireated the 
world out of nothiag, can give to these feeble begin- 
nings for him who seeks them, honor and glory and 
immortality. To every child of Adam, who goes 
daily and always to Him, and asks, believing, Christ 
says. Let there be light f and in a moment, in the 
twinkling of an eye, a new creation is made for him, 
holy angels are sent down to him, and all agencies 
of trouble, and sorrow, and struggle, and doubt, and 
fear, and temptation, and all powers and principal- 
ities resident on high, — are enlisted henceforth in 
his behalf; his name is at once written down in the 
book of life, and a white robe is made ready for him, 
and a seat set apart for him in the starry courts, — 
so that now there is no more death to that soul, — 
it has entered already into life everlasting. 

But we were talking, Mr. Editor, of dreams. I 
trust, sir, that you are still in practice. The magni- 
ficent specimen you gave us last summer, proves 
you a splendid dreamer. After editing, all day, the 
recreation of dreams, the wide area, the ease of ac- 
complishment, the might Olympian of that nodding 
land, must be especially refreshing. Or do you 
merely repeat and worry over things already done, 
thoughts already stale, and pictures beautiful in the 
making, but now to the mind only so much paint 



The Phantasies of Dreams. 191 

and canvas? Do you find yourself pulling at the 
same oar at night, wlucli you pulled in the morn- 
ing? Lifting trout again, or dropping a two-pound- 
er, just as you have him almost in hand ? Do you 
fall iuto Crooked Lake, now-a-days ? Do you have 
sunrises at midnight ? Do you see great wonders 
and marvels, bright and glorious, all in the dark- 
ness of your chamber? Do you travel before you 
have so much as thought of your trowsers, and see 
all the strange lands and stranger people? To 
whom, also, you make speeches and wind up al- 
ways with "America and the Albany Register for- 
ever?" Do you edit in Chinese and Persian, and 
chat pleasantly with the Czar, as to how he likes 
the war? 

To take a meat supper, quite late, with pickles 
and old cheese, and in due time have what you may 
call — ^the consequences, is one way of dreaming, 
but dreadfully common. To have faces about 
the bed-side grinning and expanding and multiply- 
ing into hundreds is more artistic, but has the same 
kind of vulgar unpleasantness. It is not enjoyable. 

Perhaps the most common, but fuU of character 
and import, is that kind of bewilderment which 
may be called the dream difficult. To be always 
striving at impossible things and saying to yourself 
"it's all fudge, it's no kind of use," but still to go on 
grasping and pulling again at this intangible some- 
thing, which, aU fadge as it is, quite reftises to be 
pulled or grasped. To go about a room in the dark 



192 Country Margins. 

involving and revolving, searching for a door- 
handle. To feel for matches which, when you find 
them, refuse to go off, and at last, when they do, 
to wait through long palpitating hours until the 
full blaae of light pierces the room before you dare 
put naked eyes afloat in the air. To have a con- 
sciousness that the shutters in strict propriety ought 
to be closed, as your room is on the ground floor 
and opens into all out-doors. Then, of a sudden, 
to be patiently busy (though it is a midsummer 
night) sweeping the snow off the piazza, and saying 
to yourself " I have now swept away exactly six 
inches, and if it snows all night I shall know direct- 
ly in the morning that there is a foot of snow," — 
then, on your return, to undertake the shutters, 
which doing quickly, a sleigh with four horses 
heavily apparelled with bells goes by on the jump, 
but as you knew before that you were dreaming, 
you smile, and immediately detect it all as a decep- 
tion, " it is merely the sound of your breath in your 
left nostril ; if you listen one way it's like a trumpet 
but another way, it's like a bell." As you stand 
by the window and discuss this, your father, or 
some friend who occupies the next room, comes to 
the door, and asks, in a soft voice, " what is it you 
are talking about so much." To this, you reply, in 
the same soft way, "that you are very sorry, but 
positively you did not thiok you had opened your 
lips to say any thing, in short, you had said nothing 
at all, and your friend must have imagined it ; the 



Nothing New Under the Sun. 193 

night was dark and the wind was noisy, it "Was easy 
to be deceived, and any-way it was of no conse- 
quence, as it was all a dream." 

The sleeping thought, my dear Editor, (I have 
done with the dream — ^the above is an exact copy 
of one as far as remembered,) I say the sleeping 
thought tells even better what we are, {hidden away 
in the possibilities of this human nature, which, wak- 
ing or sleeping, is one always,) than the waking 
thought. It tells fearfolly, but unerringly, and, as 
I believe, truly. If a man desires not to wrestle 
with perpetual night-mare in the life to come, let 
him look well to his dreams, while he has them. 
For dream-time will soon be over with us, and we 
shall stand, then,* in the broad, unfettered, unsleep- 
ing life, with no cloak to cover, no indigestions to 
father the sins of the heart, and what we carry with 
us, will be our companion and keep-sake forever. 
I look upon the dream as my better angel, who 
shows me, now and then, gleams of the very Hell 
itself, that I may decide now, whether I will make 
that my home hereafter, whether it wiU be pleasant 
to be a part of that dark confusion. But now, it is 
morning — ^thank God, it is still to-day — ^it is the 
light of the sun that crowns these heavens — it is 
still the world of dreams. 

Youxs, . 

" ' "Well,' said I to my wife, ' there is nothing new under the 
son, even in dreams.' " 



194 Country Makgins. 

We shall not undertake to follow you, friend 
Margins, in your metaphysical dissertation on 
dreams. Your theory as far as we, being of un- 
sophisticated and plain understanding, can compre- 
hend it, may be all right ; we shall neither dispute 
nor endorse it, but the fact asserted above, we deny. 
"We insist that there is something " new in dreams." 
"We remember one dream of our own, that, by its 
perfect distinctness as well as its comicality, made 
a deep impression upon our mind, and it remains 
fixed in our memory. There was such a seeming 
reality about it, such vividness and clearness in all 
things, that were it not utterly opposed to all our 
experience in life, and the knowledge of its impos- 
sibility, we should almost doubt whether in truth it 
were not sober fact instead of a vision of the night. 
In order that we may be understood, we must be 
permitted to describe a certain locality as it was 
long ago, and as the recollection of our boyhood 
paints it, for it is "the spot that we were born in." 
It is aU changed now, and has been for many years. 
And who with white hairs upon his head can say 
that the scenes of his childhood axe not changed ? 
That the ancient landmarks have not been remov- 
ed? That the things that memory calls up from 
the long past, the trees, the stumps, the plum-trees, 
the cattle and sheep in the pasture behind the 
house, the meadow behind the barn, and the old 
house and barn themselves, and the fences, are all 
there still? Gro back, our dear Margins, to the 



Puke Spring Water. 195 

place of your nativity, with all your young memo- 
ries clinging around your teart, and note how sadness 
will creep over you, and how the tear will start, ag 
you miss the things that you remember and loved 
so well. 

Our father's farm lay out at the head of tha 
Crooked Late, in the pleasant valley that stretches 
away westward from that beautiful sheet of water. 
The land rose with a gentle slope from the pebbly 
beach, and a broad meadow lay between the shore 
and the old farm-house, which stood some fifty rods 
from the Lake. Midway between the house and 
the Lake, a spring of the coldest and purest water 
came gushing up, around which stood a cluster of 
some half dozen maples that had been left when the 
old forest was cleared away. The long arms of 
these ancient trees lovingly entwined, and the thick 
foliage that covered them in the summer-time, made 
a dense cool shade all around the spring, and its 
waters being soft, it was the place where the wash- 
ing for the family during the warm season was 
always done. 

There was an elderly woman, who with her half- 
idiot son, lived in a log house on a comer of the 
farm, a kind of dependent upon, and was chiefly 
supported by the family. "We remember " Aunt 
Peggy," as she was always called, and "SUly 
Dick," well. They were never for an hour sepa- 
rated. "Wherever the mother went, there was sure 
to be her idiot son. "We have no recollection of 



196 COUKTEY MARoINS. 

ever seeing them apart. If " Aimt Peggy" -was at 
work in the house, Dick would be sitting on the 
(Joor-sill if it was summer-time, or if it was winter, 
in the corner waiting, and watching patiently till 
the work was done and his mother should go home. 
Among the few words that he was able to learn, 
that of "mother" was most frequently on his lips. 
He was a gentle, harmless creature, always obedient 
and affectionate, leaning upon his mother for pro- 
tection with the perfect confidence of childhood, 
though in stature and strength almost a man. The 
affections and care of Aunt Peggy were all centered 
upon Silly Dick, and her mother's instincts clung 
the closer to him because of his imbecility. Poor 
Dick and his mother have been dead many, many 
years. He died on a Tuesday, and on the following 
Monday she was laid in a grave by his side. The 
only tie that remained, the last link that bound her 
to life was broken, and she died from very grief for 
the loss of her idiot son. 

Aimt Peggy used to do the washing for the fam- 
ily down by " the Spring," in the summer-time, 
under the shade of the maples. Silly Dick would 
bring water for her from the spring, and see to the 
fire imder the kettles, and lay around on the grass 
watching his mother, when he could not be useful 
in aiding her labors. They seem to be present to 
us now as we remember them in our childhood, she 
humming a simple tune, or singing some nursery 
song or baUad, and he under the shadow of the 



A Dream of Childhood. 197 

trees, talking in his silly way to tlie birds among 
tlie branches, or to himself, as he lay stretched at 
length upon the grass, or looking at his own face 
reflected from the bottom of the spring, and won- 
dering, perhaps, who it was that was always watch- 
ing him from away down in the water. Those old 
maples, that old farm-house, that meadow with all 
the old things we remember so well, are all gone. 
A flourishing village, with himdreds of houses, and 
stores, and small gardens, and streets, cover what 
was then the meadow, and that spring itself is con- 
ducted under ground to the lake. This great 
change has been going on for a quarter of a cen- 
tury, and it is only by groping among the memo- 
ries of our boyhood, that we can recall the spot in 
its primitive beauty, and as it was long, long ago. 

Well, not many years back, as we were sleeping 
upon our bed here in this great city, we dreamed a 
dream. " We were a boy again," and in the mead- 
ow at the head of Crooked Lake as it was of old. 
There was the farm-house, and our father and 
mother, sisters and brothers. There was the path 
down through the meadow; there were the old 
maples, with their summer foliage, all bright and 
green, and there was the spring itself its crys- 
tal waters bubbling up and flowing ia a little rivu- 
let over the sand and pebbles to the Lake. There 
lay the Lake, sleeping in calmness and beauty. 
There were the forest-covered lulls on the right 
hand and on the left, there the high promontories 



198 COUNTBY Maegins. 

around which the smooth waters seemed to creep 
and hide themselves. And last of all, there was 
Aunt Peggy by the spring washing, and Silly Dick 
was on the grass watching and talking to the birds 
that were hopping about, and singing and twitter- 
ing in the branches above him. The vision was all 
perfect; not a feature, not a tint was wanting.- We 
saw and felt as of old, as if thirty years of our life 
had been obliterated, and nothing of its cares or 
trials, its struggles or hard experience, remained. 
Everything on this side of our boyhood was clean 
wiped out. The scene had not to us even the charm 
of novelty. The sun was shining bright and warm 
in the sky, and it seemed pleasant to be under the 
shadow of those old maples, as a refuge from his 
rays. 

Darkness gathered away down on the Lake ; a 
dense black cloud seemed to come up out of the 
water, and from behind the high promontories, not 
rising slowly and majestically like thundercaps 
from behind mountains, but heaving and swelling 
and rolling at first like the biUows of ocean, and 
then rising in dense columns towards the sky, 
wreathing and swirhng, and twisting upward Hke 
the smoke that goes up from a burning building in 
the night, but infinitely blacker and deeper, and ex- 
tending all across the eastern sky. Eed lightnings 
flashed upward and downward, and crosswise, and 
every way, trailing like fiery serpents across the 
face of the cloud. Wild geese and ducks, and 



An Extbaobdinaey Prayer. 199 

eagles, and osprays, came sweeping in flocks, and 
screaming in mortal terror to the westward over us. 
A mist gathered in the air, and though it was noon- 
day, yet a shadowy and spectral twilight gathered 
aroimd us. An immense ball of fire shot Hke a blaz- 
ing comet across the sky from the approaching dark- 
ness. The thunder growled with horrible intense- 
ness, shaking the very earth to its centre. To us 
all this war of the elements seemed neither strange 
nor terrible. "We had no idea of danger, no appre- 
hension of harm. Not so, however, with the poor 
washerwoman ; but one idea seemed to have a place in 
her mind, and that was that the day of judgment had 
come, at a time when she least expected it. She tried 
to pray, but every prayer ended with " The house 
that Jack buUt." She essayed to sing a hymn, but 
every effort ended in Yankee Doodle. Try as she 
might, exert all her powers, aided by the mortal terror 
that was upon her, every verse would end in Yankee 
Doodle. Every strain, however devotional in the be- 
ginning, was sure to close with Yankee Doodle, till in 
utter hopelessness her hands dropped by her side, and 
in a voice choked by the agony of despair, she cried, 
"Lord help us, my poor boy, what kind of a song 
wiU. that be to sing in Heaven ?" To us who felt no 
sense of danger, there was something so infinitely 
ludicrous in the poor woman's astonishment and 
dismay, that we could not restrain our risibility, 
and " What in the name of aU that's funny are you 
laughing at now?" said our wife, starting up in 



200 Country Mabgins. 

amazement at the vehemence of our cachinnations, 
scattering the dream, and the tempest, and the 
meadow, the old maples, and the spring, and poor 
Aunt Pegqt, and SUly Dick, like visions of the 
night, as they all were. 



XV. 

THE BRIGHT MORNING-AND JULY. 

The day lias gone by. Like tlie amen to prayer, 
comes tlie night. The night, too, has gone, now, 
and lite the smile of God comes the morning. 

The sun is riding high in the heavens, but finds 
me loitering and dreamy. The intense vitality of 
this July day, — the richness of this beautiful morn- 
ing, only make me shrink within myself — ^paralyz- 
ing instead of strengthening ; prostrating, not up- 
lifting. I am thinking, too, of a brighter day than 
this — a. purer glory. Oh thou kind Heaven, for- 
give me if I dream too much, and act too httle for 
that pure day, — ^that golden morning of which every 
sunrise here is a prophecy — every noon-day, a wit- 
ness and proof I For it is not far away from earth, 
where the sun shines on forever. It is almost aa 
though one might stand on some mountaia top and 
reach up a hand into the living waves where sun- 
rise and sunset meet and clasp each other, destroy- 
ing night. 

How still it is, to-day 1 Soft as mezzotiats, and 
as motionless on the grass lie the shadows of the 
9 



202 Country Margins. 

maples, spotted with the light. One might think 
that Nature, all clad with the glory of God, had 
suddenly ceased to breathe, and were waiting the 
announcement of something new to be. But it is 
not that. The announcement has been made al- 
ready. Death has been busy again, (he who parts 
the day and the night, so that they meet no more, 
have no more fellowship, one with the other,) he 
has been busy again, and has taken one more of 
our young friends. The swift lightning brought us 
the news, last night, and to-day the world is changed. 
It is not the same world it was yesterday. . She, 
who is gone, is not a part of it, to-day. She is liv- 
ing yet ; the pulses of her being, in whatever^ won- 
derful way God has provided for her, are beating 
yet, and will hve on forever — ^but not to our sight. 
And what have we had to do with this matter — ^this 
new life to her — ^this change, beyond whieh, and in 
which, is no change ; we, who in times past, have 
been near her, for so many bright days, so many 
evenings made glad with the music and joy of 
youth ? Oh, it will not do to turn away from this 
question, for it comes home to us, now, and it will 
come home to us again, in the day of judgment. 
If through all her bright or clouded days here upon 
earth, we have been pleading with God to prepare 
her for something purer, brighter, holier — ^if we 
have sought mightily, and as for our own souls, 
that Jesus Christ, the righteous, would come down 
and make her His child, and number her with those 



The Death of Susie. 203 

who shall sit with him in glory — doubtless it is all 
written down in heaven, and will keep well — ^the 
ink will not fade — the print of that record will be 
bright, even in the great day of account. 

If we have not done this, it is too late now. "We 
may go to our closets and bend low before the 
Infinite Majesty — ^we may know that God is there 
— as leaning in the dark on the arm of a friend, 
whom we see not ; we may feel the touch, and know 
that Jesus is there, ready to save to the uttermost, 
the living, — ^ready to hear and answer petitions for 
the living, for whatever other child of our heart 
may not yet be on the road to Heaven, — ^but we can 
ask nothing more for Susie, — she is gone. 

At such a time we pause in our routine, and take 
new bearings and stand-points. Life becomes 
touched with a higher value, and we ask as to this 
question of values, what kind of currency passes in 
Heaven, what exchange rules there — ^what transac- 
tions are going on there, — ^what is the fashion of 
life there, and what the speech and apparel of that 
High Court. In this way, God calls to us, the 
angels call to us, the friends gone before call to us, 
the whole world, and the brute and inanimate things 
of God, cry aloud to us. The sunshine playing in 
spots under the trees, becomes purer, brighter, more 
like a thing of life itself; as though it would plead 
•with us, and win us away from the world and its 
noisy doings. " Look at me," it says — as we stop 
musing under the maples — " and see how pure and 



204 CouNTBY Margins. 

bright I am, doing only the will of God, for He 
sends me and gives me wings to travel with, and 
all the strength I need. Oh, come away from the 
world, my friend, and busy yourself with something 
handsome, something worthy of yourself and your 
Creator." 

At such times, also, a passage, say a sentence 
from a book, some forgotten author, or forgotten 
prayer, will enter and quite take possession of the 
mind, driving out all other thought with its inces- 
sant repetition, hke the face of a child whom we 
love,pressing, importunate, not to be refused. 

"Within the last ten years my father and myself 
have visited occasionally an old homestead near 
New Haven, of which now nothing is left save a 
small new stone house, standing however on the 
old ground, and with the same hills and meadows 
about it, which were there when it was my father's 
home — ^the home of his childhood. Our object is, 
sometimes, to stop at the old place, or to make a 
few inquiries among the neighbors, and sometimes 
merely to take one more look, as we pass by ; for 
there are none that know us there now — not one. 
If they remember us at all, it is probably only as 
the strange old gentleman and his son, who some- 
times stop and ask questions about people who lived 
there sixty or seventy years ago — and who cares 
about such people ? Why, they are all dead, mostly. 
So my father says. There is scarcely a man or 
woman in all New. Haven who remembers him. 



An Obliging Host. 205 

" All gone," says my father, " all gone — every one 
of tliem that I used to know." 

What attraction there is to him in this solitary 
ride I can hardly say, but perhaps he Hkes it best, 
that he is not interrupted in his meditations therea- 
bouts, by friends on the look-out. It suits him, 
perhaps, that they do not come crowding about the 
carriage, and urging him to stop and stay with them. 
What are they to him, or he to them ? They are 
not of the same generation. 

On our last pilgrimage, only one summer ago, 
we stopped, as usual, at the Park House by the 
College Green, and a^er the usual questioning, 
were recognized by the landlord, who always makes 
amends for not knowing us, by extraordinary civil- 
ities, after making us out. We have, usually, the 
front first floor rooms, and if in season, the landlord 
always remembers my father's partiality for the 
dragon oysters, and supplies us three times a day. 
Early on the morning after our last arrival, we 
started for our drive. My father was urgent for 
a one-horse wagon, and I as urgent for an open 
double carriage and driver, and so we started in a 
roomy barouche, with the top thrown back, and a 
trusty driver, who had driven a coach, as he told 
Tis, for more than twenty-five years. 

To my mind, it was a beautiful arrangement, and 
my father, I saw plainly, was soon of the same 
opinion. There was room to point his ca»e in all 



206 OOUNTEY MARaiNS. 

directions, and entire comfort as to cushions and 
back. A cliarming arrangement ! 

In this satisfactory manner, we slowly bowled 
tbrougb the streets, my father marking for me, as 
we passed, aU the places of note, and here and there 
questioning the driver, who sat high up in the air, 
as to occasional novelties, which were of late date, 
and consequently of small significance. "All 
changed — all changed," said my father, after touch- 
ing up the driver with his cane, as to some new 
structure, which was built perhaps six months be- 
fore. "Here," he continued, turning to, me, "on 
this corner was the old church, where we came to 
meeting. I see nothing of it now," said he, look- 
ing, very hard at a plain house which stood there, 
as if he thought something might be left, " I see 
nothing of it,— but here, sir, we came and heard the 
great Dr. Edwards more than sixty, yes, seventy 
years ago. And here," he continued, as we rolled 
out into the country and passed the creek, " here is 
the ground where my father planted his cannon 
and drove back the British. I wasJ)n the lull with 
my mother, where we had retired in the night. 
We staid in a barn up there, till the troubles were 
over, — ^aU the women and children gathered together 
there, for days and nights, living as we could on 
what we had caught up in haste, as we left our 
homes. There your aunt was born, shook into the 
world by the roar of cannon on the plains. It was 
a hard time, sir, a hard time." 



AFathee's Recollections. 207 

" Up this road," lie continued, " a mile or more, 
lived a man whom I remember as Uncle Joe Ball, 
who came down to the old house twice a week, 
always, to shave my father. The Tories in the 
neighborhood threatened Uncle Joe severely, to 
which he replied that as long as Captain M. needed 
a barber he (Uncle Joe) should attend to him, and 
if they, the rascally Tories, would give hinn half as 
good a breakfast as he always got at the old Cap- 
tain's, he would shave them, too." 

We made no stop, this time, at the homestead. 
Perhaps we had frightened them too much, years 
ago. On that occasion, I being an invalid and lag- 
ging behind, my father walked swiftly in at the 
front door, and by a side-door passed on through a 
sitting-room, startling several women who were 
there, and still moved on without let or pause, to a 
back kitchen, where he threw his cloak on the floor, 
and exclaimed to all who might be concerned ,ia 
the declaration, " The very spot where I was bom !" 
This was his first and last remark. Looking for a 
moment at the frightened people with exceeding 
severity, as though they had scarcely a right to 
appear on the face of the earth, and with his great 
cloak, which I replaced on his shoulders, swinging 
in the wind, my fiither immediately marched out 
again, by a rear door, and has never entered the 
house since. I returned a moment to apologize, and 
learned that they bear our name, but knew nothing 
about us. The event of that morning they doubt 



208 Country Margins. 

less remember, as we do hurricanes, as something 
fearful, but (providentially) rare. 

At this time, as I said, we made il?) halt, save for 
a look, but a mile or thereabouts further south, my 
father stopped the carriage, and directed my atten- 
tion to a small two-story building, probably now 
used as a corn-house. " I remember it well," said 
he, " for there was where we first came to school. 
I was a mere child, for it is at least seventy years 
ago, but I remember it well, because the house was 
once struck by lightning, and none of us hurt, not 
one. But I remember it better from another cir- 
cumstance. It was kept by a school-mistress. I 
shall never forget that place, or that school-mis- 
tress," said my father, looking at me with a smile, 
"for every morning and evening she prayed for us, 
closing, always, with this petition, — that we might 
all meet again in the bright morning of ^ Resurrec- 
tion." 

As we drove on into the city, my father leaned 
back, for the first time, in the carriage, and ex- 
claimed, (quoting from one of his own poems — ^the 
originality of which we afterwards discussed,) 

" Lovd strikes the clock of Time ! This, sir, is 
probably the last drive that we shall ever have 
together to the old homestead." 

I hope, Mr. Editor, that I have not wearied you 
with these personal matters. It is that petition of 
the school-mistress, which has been haunting me 
to-day. That is the child's face which has been 



"Indepeitdence." 209 

before me all tlie morning. It -was said seventy 
years ago, or thereabouts, and doubtless it bas been 
said many thousands of years ago, but it is good 
yet, is it not ? It will never become old or tire- 
some. As time piles up tbe years and hurries 
them off into the past, this old-fashioned petition 
will become brighter and brighter by repetition, 
and for all the years that remain to this rolling 
world. And long after we, my dear Editor, have 
stepped aside from this swift procession — ^when we 
have written our last Margins, and aU. this beauti- 
ful arrangement for sunrise and sunset shall have 
floated away from us, as a dream and a mist, there 
will still be thousands, and thousands, and ten times 
thousands, evermore looking up, and uttering, by 
day and by night, through all the round world, 
that sweet petition — that we may all — all meet in the 
bright morning of the Resurrection. 

Yours, . 



"the intense vitality of this JULY DAY." 

Speaking of July, reminds one of " Independ- 
ence," and that again of celebrations, of the boom- 
ing of great guns, the fizzing of fire-crackers, of 
rockets skiving through the heavens at night, and 
all the paraphernalia belonging to the commemora- 
tion of the birth-day of a great nation. "We have 
done one thing in our day to tell of What few 
9* 



210 CoxjNTBT Margins. 

living Editors, we venture to say, or lawyers either, 
for that matter have ever done. "We once delivered 
an oration in a state's prison, on a Fourth of July, 
and our audience consisted only of the convicts 
and their keepers. Most people in this State, leg- 
islators and tax-payers especially, have heard of 
the Clinton prison, an establishment away up in 
Clinton County, right in the woods, literally at the 
end of the road. It consists of a great pile of stone 
buildings surrounded by palisades, inclosing some 
dozen or more acres, inside of which is a bed of 
iron ore, which is wrought by the convicts. This 
ore is raised and separated at an expense of some 
five dollars, or thereabouts, per ton, and sold at 
something like four dollars, leaving a clear profit 
of about one dollar to the State — out of pocket. 
However this may be, the State has for the last ten 
or more years been looking for the "good time 
coming," when the Clinton prison would sustain 
itself without the aid of taxation, and the treasury, 
and that same good time is in prospect still. 

Four years ago we were out among the Chatau- 
gay woods, tramping over the lulls and along the 
streams, floating over the lakes and climbing the 
mountains, and playing the savage among the 
Adirondacks for a fortnight. "We had a nice time 
among the game. "We shot all the deer we desired 
to, and caught as many trout as we pleased. "We 
killed a wild cat and a fisher, and squirrels and 
rabbits not a few. "We floated over those beautiful 



NoETHEBN Lakes. 211 

lakes that lay there all alone in the woods, rowing 
around their rocky shores, talking with the old 
forest spirits and weird things that had not yet been 
frightened away by the tramp and the roar and on- 
ward rush of civilization. 

Beautiful, aye, most beautiful are those northern 
lakes, lying aniong the mountains and surrounded 
by the ancient forest, just as they were placed there 
by the command of God. Especially beautiful are 
the Saranacs, and Bound Lake, and Tupper's Lake> 
studded with picturesque islands, some treeless and 
shrubless, mere brown moss-covered rocks, great 
boulders rising up out of the deep water. Others 
are covered with solemn old primeval trees, against 
which the woodman's axe has never been swung. 
Eomantic bays steal around and are hidden behind 
high promontories. Fragmentary rocks in some 
places are piled up like a ruined wall along the 
banks, while at others a sandy beach stretches back 
to the alders and scrubby trees that line the shore. 
A beautiful river is the Eacquet, coming down from 
among the mountains with a deep and quiet cur- 
rent, save where occasional rapids occur,, when it 
dashes madly along, foaming and eddying, and 
whirling round, among, and over the rocks, and 
roaring onward for a little way, and then settling 
down again into calmness and a dignified flow. 

We returned, or as our guide termed it, " came 
out," from our forest wanderings at the Clinton pri- 
son, on the afternoon of the third of July. We 



212 Country Mabgins. 

accepted the invitation of the Agent to spend a 
day or two with Mm. In the evening the good 
old chaplain called upon ns, and stated that the 
convicts were to have a prison hohday and an ex- 
tra dinner on the morrow, and requested us to give 
them an oration. We prepared one during the 
night, and delivered it on the Fourth, in the presence 
of some three hundred or more convicts and their 
keepers, in the chapel of the prison. It was a new 
thing to talk about liberty, and progress, and social 
order, the glories of a free government and the 
advance of civilization to men whose view waa 
circumscribed by the palisades of the prison, who 
were slaves to the State in the hands of their keep- 
ers, and with whom freedom of word or action 
was a memory only. When we rose from the chap- 
lain's desk to address them and looked upon the 
fiices before us, every one of which wore a settled 
melancholy, a sorrowfcd, almost hopeless express- 
ion, an indescribable feeling of sadness overpow- 
ered us, and we had to sit down to wipe away the 
tears that obscured the pages of the manuscript 
before us. We had addressed a good many audi- 
ences in our day, but never one like that. We 
saw, before we had spoken a word, the big tears 
coursing down the cheeks of those with • whose 
hearts memory was busyrr-memory that brought 
their Httle ones around them, with their childish 
prattle and innocent faces, from whom their crimes 
had banished them, and no doubt conscience was 



They are Gone, All Gone. 213 

doing its work. No man ever had an audience 
that listened with a more earnest attention to his 
words, than did those three hundred convicts to 
ours, and the memory of that Fourth of July ora- 
tion, in a State's prison, will remain with us always. 

" So my father says. There is scarcely a man or woman in all 
New Haven who remembers him." " All gone," says my fa- 
ther, " all gone, every one of them that I used to know." 

Herein is one of the mysteries of being. We 
see those who started with us in life dropping away, 
falling like the Autumn leaves around us, the cir- 
cle growing smaller and smaller, the weak and the 
strong falling alike, and if we are spared only a 
few years longer, we too can say of the companions 
of our youth, "they are gone, all gone." We 
remember a Scotchman, a neighbor of our father's, 
who was a middle-aged man, when we were a boy. 
He left his native village in Scotland before attain- 
ing his majority, and came to this country in pur- 
suit of fortune. Hi a industry and finigality secured 
that, and after the lapse of near half a century, he 
was seized with a longing to go back to the scenes 
of his childhood, to look once more upon the things 
he loved so well, and which memory had treasured 
so fondly in his heart. He was absent some three 
or four months, and we met him here in the city 
on his return. He was an old man, numbering 
nearly or quite three-score years and ten, but vigor- 
ous and hearty as an ordinary one of fifty. We 



214 CouNTBY Margins. 

inquired of the friends he expected to find, and 
deep sadness gathered on his features as he an- 
swered, " I found only their graves. None knew 
me. I was a stranger alike to the memory and 
traditions of my kindred." 

There is small philosophy in pausing to inquire 
why we are spared. The mystery of this everlast- 
ing change, this dropping into, and dropping out of 
life, is a matter upon which we may speculate, but 
one that we cannot solve. This we know, that busy 
and successful as death is, and has always been, in 
recruiting his ranks, the great army of the living 
goes on increasing always. Being bom, is a pre- 
requisite to death, and although it be a fixed fact 
that it is appointed unto all men once to die, yet it 
is an equally certain thing, that more men have 
been bom into the world than have died. When 
one, or a hundred, or a thousand, disappear from 
among the living, one, or a hundred, or a thou- 
sand, together with a few extra numbers, step iato 
their places, and it is doubtless a fact that there 
are more people in the world to-day than there 
were yesterday, or at any previous period, and 
there will be more to-morrow than there are to- 
day. The number of living men and women is 
increasing, and has been, we have no doubt, since 
the ark rested on Ararat, and that number will go 

on increasing until when? The world is not 

full of people yet, by a long shot. 



Deag ON Oysters. 215 

" We have nsnallj the front first floor rooms, and if in season, 
the landlord always remembers my father's partiality for the 
Dragon oysters, and supplies us three times a day." 

Do you think, oiir friend Maegins, that the 
Landlord of the "Park House by the College 
Green," cotild be induced to extend his civilities 
in this respect to a new customer? Would the edi- 
tor of the Register be likely to be treated to those 
same Dragon oysters ? If so, we shall be Kkely to 
patronize the " Park House by the College Green," 
for we confess that of all the delicate morsels a 
fresh Dragon oyster right from his oozy bed, is oxir 
weakness; we hold him to be the prince of the 
bivalves ; not the largest, certainly, nor the fattest, 
but he is the sweetest, the one that is just right to 
a dot. We have small respect for the college or 
institutions of learning of New Haven — not that we 
would speak in dispraise of them. They may all 
be, and doubtless are, well enough in their way. 
They have doubtless sent out many men who have 
made a noise in the world, and there may be many 
more like them to follow ; but there are a himdred 
other places where great men are manufactured, 
where colleges and institutions of learning abound; 
but New Haven alone can boast of the genuine, 
unadulterated Dragon oyster, and this great fact is 
its crowning glory. It is the Dragon oyster that 
links New Haven to history, and makes it immor- 
tal. Ask of a Yirginian where New Haven is, and 
he will tell you it is where they have the Dragon 



216 CouNTKY Margins. 

oyster fresli every day — ^ask him its principal attrac- 
tion, and tie '11 answer tlie Dragon oyster — ask him 
its principal production, its chief article of manufac- 
ture, he'U tell you the Dragon oyster; and his 
mouth will moisten, and his eyes dilate while he 
sums up his geographical knowledge of the locality 
in the great fact, the Dbagon oysteb. 



XVT. 

THE DINNER, AND QOOD-BYE- 
DECEMBER. 

Now tliat we have dined, Mr. Editor, let us 
shake hands, and part. 

Some years ago on the Kaatskills, I wrote a little 
poem about the country near Stratford-on-Avon. 
In that, I discoursed, very much to my satisfac- 
tion, of 

" The journeying hills that wind away 
Slowly, as to a passing-bell ; 
like friends who say good-bye, yet stay. 
And still repeat — good-bye — Farewell. 

That was very proper for Ould England, but 
don't let us, Mr. Editor, copy after such nonsense. 
For it is time, sir, to have done with Margins. 
Unless we stop soon, your readers will think that 
we have set up for an institution, " most tolerable, 
and not to be endured." The year, too, draws to a 
close, and it's hardly worth while to carry over the 
old year's talk into the new. I am, as you know, 
a little slow, at best, although you have waked me 
some, (I rise, now, perhaps an hour earlier, than 



218 CouNTKY Margins. 

wlieii we began our discussions:) But I need all 
the helps of appositeness and picked time of entrie. 
Now that we are to part, it will not be taken in any 
begging sense, if I confess myself behind the times, — 
not up with the rising generation. Not that I care ex- 
ceedingly about this. Probably not. If there is any 
one body in the round world, or say any two or three, 
(counting in my wife and Nelly,) who carry their 
days along with more high content than do we in 
this quiet up-country, I should like to make their 
acquaintance. So that it is not, you perceive, that we 
care as to being not quite so enterprising as the world 
that dashes by us, — ^but that others do. Mrs. Dash, 
I suspect, has a feeling in this matter — so have 
other neighbors, and so, perhaps, have you and 
your readers. People well out at sea, and under 
full sail, don't care to be straining their hearing, to 
please some idler on the shore, who is shouting to 
them through a trumpet. 

And now, sir, if only that Conner deals kindly 
with you, I shall be more than content. It was the 
dinner to which you were invited, six months ago, 
and now that it is accomplished, I see no occasiop. 
for further talk. Six months ago, we were to dine. 
The six months have gone, and we have dined. 
That is to say. Quod erat demonstrandum, et demon- 
stratus est. What's the use of margins, when we 
have found the text, the very heart of the matter? 

The talk, then, was of peas, young onions, and 
spring chickens ; but we can't bring June up into 



How DID THE Editor Eest? 219 

mid-winter. You must be content, sir, -vrith having 
had a Christmas dinner. I flatter myself, however, 
that we did a fair thing in the way of onions, — 
the boiled and the pickled; — and the chickens had 
been spring chickens, which, I take it, satisfies the 
conscience, the moral sense, as to that matter. If a 
chicken has been young in its day, what more can 
you expect? Oh, my Editor, in this age of progress, 
when there's a chance of attaining to the full cackle, 
the perfected crow, it's quite ridiculous to expect 
that spring chickens are always to continue and 
remain spring chickens 1 

How did you rest, Hammond? Did you go 
through without landing ? Did Rowring River trouble 
you? "All in the solemn midnight," (not cen- 
turies ago — ^but this same last night, Dec. 27th-28th, 
now gone past, and at this moment hanging some-- 
where, all cold and dark and starry, on its way 
over the lakes and the prairies,) did there come up 
any ghosts of dinner — ^nice things that ought to be 
quiet, — ^tit-bits, that wouldn't be kind to you ? 

One thing is certain — ihe fire-water we did not 
have, nor the Claret, nor the Sauterne, nor the Old 
Port, nor the Heisdich. "We did not find the key to 
the hall-closet. 

Of course, sir, it would be highly improper for 
me to speak of the 'pre-arrangements for this din- 
ner. It would scarcely be fair to Mrs. Margin. 
For instance, it would never do for me to say, that 
the last six weeks, more or less, have been and 



220 CouNTEY Margins. 

gone chiefly as antecedents to this event — ^that we 
began to smell onions and scolloped oysters (I think) 
in November — ^that the draft in the parlor chimney 
though powerful, was the wrong way — ^that I placed 
there an old-fashioned Franklin grate, which from 
its look of high satisfaction I was anxious should 
have a good time, and which itself evidently had its 
whole heart in the matter, burning and smoking in 
the most generous manner, straight into the room — 
that I talked with it, and argued, and theorized, 
and threatened, for days and nights — ^firedit up this 
way, and that way, tried it with the north wind, 
with the south wind, with a powerful west wind, 
and found all winds alike to it, the honest old 
Franklhrtaking all, and giving nothing back to the 
chimney — ^that finding, at last, a combination of 
flues, such as no decent stove could submit to, and 
after working hard all day, carefully noting the 
smallest hints, the slightest coquetry of agreement, 
filling and opening, and again filling and opening 
certain dark and sooty chambers, that same old 
stove suddenly put on a bright and complaisant 
face, smiled through all its brass headings, and 
drew to a charm ! 

This, sir, would never do to mention out of the 
family. I will only remark, therefore, that having 
established that chimney commimication, we held 
it with a firm hand, so that a perpetual flame went 
up those ancient flues, to the hour of your arrival. 

So, also, as to apparel, especially boots, of which 



A Struggle with Boots. 221 

I found an elegant pair, wliicli have been on my 
feet tliree times, I believe, in the last five years. 
Some weeks ago (to be forehanded), L pulled my 
astonished feet into those boots, and perhaps the 
happiest moment of my life, was when I pulled 
them out again. However, I keep them safe. I 
lay them up choice. They will be good for exer- 
cise ia stormy days, when we can't get out doors. 
I have made a calculation, that if I begin to pull 
them on right away after breakfast, I shall just be 
able to get dinner, when it will be time to begin 
immediately at getting them off again. This will 
fill up the whole day with vigorous exercise, and 
be excellent for the arms and chest. Any tendency 
of blood to the head, can be kept down by cold ap- 
plications. 

They were put aside, therefore, as useful in that 
view, but not for a holiday. For the struggle with 
those boots, sir, opened my eyes, as to the folly of 
all such vain and windy endeavor ; and when the 
fitness, the simplicity of shoes presented itself, I was 
at once a better and a stronger man. Having con- 
quered the glistening temptation of boots, other 
troubles were light as air ; so that siuce that day, 
and the establishment of the upward current in the 
parlor chimney, the whole house has been a-blaae 
with the liveliest satisfaction, up to the breezy mo- 
ment when you and yours stepped in at our front 
door. 

But, oh my dear Editor, my commentator, and 



222 Country Margins. 

alter ego of tlie Maxgins, you perceive that all this 
is entirely a private matter. Exclusively, sir, ex- 
clusively. It is due to myself — ^it is due to my 
"wife — and I tMnk, too, that even Nelly might have 
a feeling in this matter — a nice and delicate sense 
of the proper, that you should not so much as dream 
that anything of the kind has taken place. I say, 
therefore, nothing about it. 

Good-bye, Hammond — good-bye, and addio. 
Now that we have dined, and supped, and slept, 
and breakfasted, while the wheels are still rolling 
that carry you home, and the white breath of that 
fire-horse goes up into the gold of sunrise, we send 
after you this last greeting and farewell. 

With the day, especially the early morning, are 
light, and strength, and hope. "With the night, 
are darkness and dreams, prophecies and mysteries. 
I like, always, to shake parting hands in the morn- 
ing. 

Addio, sir, and take our best up-country regards 
to all your household. Especially my wife's and 
Nelly's, I trust you will keep in your choicest 
remembrance. And as you travel down to that 
last hour to which we all journey on together, may 
you and yours prosper continually ; may you greet 
many another Christmas ; and with the same firm 
step with which you just now crossed the high 
bridge over Roaring River, may you walk on into 
the mornings of many, and happy. New Years to 
come. 

Yours, . 



Shake Hands and Part. 223 

" Nov that we have dined, Mr. Editor, let ns shake hands 
and part." 

Don't say that, friend Margins, don't say it. Part- 
ing is a hard word, indeed it is. Have you so many 
friends, that you can throw off even one without 
a feeling of loneliness about the heart? "We know 
that modern friendships, those formed when white 
hairs are gathering on the head, are not like those 
of our early years — at all events, they are less easily 
formed, and herein is a curious matter pertaining 
to human character. It is more difficult to form 
friendships as we grow old. We become cautious ; 
we weigh character carefully; we start at any in- 
consistency, any weakness, that we entirely overlook 
in an old friend, and close up our hearts against 
that confidence which in our youth we so freely 
entertained. No. matter how many of our old com- 
panions may fall from around us, no matter how 
we may see ourselves, year by year, isolated, con- 
tact with the world, a practical knowledge of its 
insincerity, its hollowness, and its vanities tooy 
make ua shrink from filling the void which death 
has created, by new intimacies. Besides, we become 
cold and frigid in our natures. Icicles form around 
our heart, and the hot tears, over the graves of our 
early friends, will not melt them away. We should 
cherish the friendships of our youth the more, be- 
cause it is so difficult to form new ones, and we 
should prize a new one, formed at our years, as a 



224 CouNTBY Margins. 

diamond set around with rubies ; as gold that had 
passed the refiner's ordeal. 

Say that we shall cease our discussions, if you 
please ; that this is the last of the Makgins. Eetire 
to enjoy the otium cum dignitate of your literary la- 
bors, but don't say, "let us shake hands and part," 
don't say it. 

* ♦ * "And the cliickens had been spring chickens, 
which, I take it, satisfies the conscience, the moral sense, as to 
that matter. If a chicken has been young in its day, what 
more can you expect ? Oh 1 my Editor, in this age of progress, 
when there is a chance of attaining the full cackle, the perfected 
crow,— it 'a quite ridiculous to expect that spring chickens are 
always to continue and remain spring chickens." 

Precisely so — the theory looks plausible, and so 
far as the argument goes, we cannot gainsay it. 
But it won't stand the test of fact : and how many 
of the ten thousand theories originated by human 
wisdom will stand that test ? The world once be- 
lieved that this little earth was the great centre of 
created things. That it was a vast plain stretching 
out every way, consisting of oceans and dry land, 
lakes, mountains and seas, rivers and islands. That 
when a man started to go west, west he might go 
forever, until he came to the outer edge, the jump- 
ing off place, if any edge there was. That the sun 
travelled round the earth by day, and the moon by 
night, and that all the stars were only shining things 
set up in the sky for ornament. This theory was 



Test of Spring Chickens. 225 

a great thing for Imman pride, and tlie men of those 
times had a great opinion of themselves and their 
mighty world. No wonder that " there were giants 
in those days." But the demonstrations of science 
knocked this proud theory into fragments. Great 
ships swung out upon the ocean, and sailed away 
westward, and sailed on, traversing unknown seas. 
Onward they went, westward and westward stiU, 
until one day they made their appearance in the East, 
returning to the harbor they had left. People still 
insisted that the earth was flat ; but there stood the 
fact, of a voyage always in one direction, straight- 
forward, that terminated where it began. Here 
was a practical demonstration, a solitary fact that 
scattered the logic and the learning of ages, and a 
great theory that had stood as truth for centuries, 
to the winds. It proved that this earth was not 
flat, but round. Science again applied its cold de- 
monstrations of fact to our planetary system, and 
proved that this mighty earth was a wonderfully 
small matter in the great visible universe of God, 
that it travelled roimd the sun as a sort of tender 
only, and that the little stars that twinkled away 
up in the sky, were glorious worlds, to whose vast 
magnitude this earth is in comparison as a grass- 
hopper to the mastodon. 

And now, friend Margins, let us test your the- 
ory in regard to spring chickens — and remember 
we are discussing a theory, not a dinner, and espe- 
cially not the " Christmas dinner," for that was all 
10 



226 Country Margins. 

that an epicure could ask, to say nothing of the 
generous hospitality, the pleasant couTersation with 
which it was seasoned. Ask a " diner out" who 
has a taste for that choicest of delicacies, the spring 
chicken, if he is contented with the argument that 
he should feed upon an antiquated rooster, because 
it had at some remote period been a spring chick- 
en ? Every tooth in his head would cry out against 
such a forced conclusion. Eeason with him as you 
might — ^pUe Pelion upon Ossa and Ossa upon Olym- 
pus, in the way of theoretical demonstration, still 
his aching jaws, that had in vain essayed to masti- 
cate the muscles and ligaments of the venerable 
game-cock, and his sense of taste that had detected 
no delicacy of flavor, would, by the simple applica- 
tion of palpable facts, demolish your learning and 
your logic. No, sir, a spring chicken is sui generis. 
It never exceeds a partridge in size. When it " at- 
tains the ftill cackle, the perfected crow," as a 
spring chicken it ceases to have an existence ; caU 
it a fowl, a hen, a rooster, anything you please, but 
it is not a spring chicken. It may be, and I affirm 
it is, a good and edible thing, but a spring chicken 
it is not. It has not the delicate flavor, the juicy 
tenderness — ^in short, the perfection of all that is 
pleasant to the palate, that belongs to the spring 
chicken. 

" One thing is certain, the fire-water we did not have, nor 
the Claret, nor the Sauteme, nor the old Port, nor the Heid- 
sick ; we did not find the key to the hall-closet." 



Never Floored But Once. 227 

And therein we insist upon it we were right. 
Will you tell us, friend Margins, why it is, that 
rational men, who can reason accurately from cause 
to effect, should indulge in this same fire-water ? 
Why they will insist that they cannot be jolly, 
without invoking to their aid the wine-God, or the 
still more dangerous potentate, Eong Alcohol ? If 
you will look over our pleasant correspondence you 
will find, somewhere in the back numbers, this 
expression in regard to ourselves : 

" Wine floored ns once, and only once, and then 'twas by 
treachery. Under the influence of repentance and soda-water, 
we cut its acquaintance forever." 

We have smiled over the memory of that occa- 
sion more than once, notwithstanding certain 
twinges of conscience, which tempered our pro- 
pensity to laughter, for be it known to you, friend 
Margins, that there is "a mirthful sadness as well 
as tears of joy." 

We had just finished our term of study required 
as an antecedent to being admitted to practice at 
the bar (we mean, of course, as a lawyer) ; and as 
the court was in session in New York, went there 
for the purpose of passing the ordeal of an exami- 
nation preparatory to obtaining a license to put 
" Attorney at Law" at the end of our name. It 
was of a January day when we, with some forty or 
fifty others, were examined, and cold enough to 
satisfy the conscience of a Laplander. Much as we 



228 COUNTBY Maegins. 

liad dreaded the examination, and diligently as we 
had applied ourseLf to be prepared for it, it finally 
turned out to be a very commonplace affair, the 
principal object of which seemed to be, to occupy 
the time until a supper to the examiners, at what 
in those days was a celebrated restaurant's in the 
neighborhood of the City Hall, could be prepared. 
When that event was announced the examination, 
of course, terminated, and we were all pronounced 
uncommonly learned young men, in every branch 
of legal science ; and as the supper was excellent, 
we maybe said to have graduated with great honor. 
We are green enough, mercy knows, now, but were 
much more verdant then. The greater part of our 
long clerkship of seven years had been spent ia the 
rural districts where Champagne was a mere rumor, 
an ideality, a thing to hear spoken of by travelled 
gentlemen ; besides, our finances, if such cheer had 
been plenty, would have been a barrier between us 
and indulgence. 

Beside us at the table sat one that might have 
been called, in modem parlance, a fast young man ; 
so fast, indeed, that he ran himself out of constitu- 
tion, out of health, and into the grave at last, before 
he was thirty years of age. He was the son of 
wealthy parents, highly educated, and of brilliant 
mind. But a career of dissipation squandered one 
of the noblest intellects that God ever gave to his 
creatures, and made his mother's head white, and 
her brow wrinkled long before their time, and the 



A Bkick in the Hat. 229 

memory of his last hours, when the drunkard's 
dehrinm was upon him, broke her heart, and she 
sank childless into the grave. He sat beside us at 
the supper-table. Upon him wine had small effect. 
Inured to its use, his brain seemed almost proof 
against indulgence, however copious his libations. 
The Champagne was choice, and we remember well 
that it was pleasant to the taste. Our neighbor 
drank and urged us to drink, descanting all the 
time upon its harmless nature, and we were foolish 
enough to drink one glass to his two, during the 
sitting. "We had a joUy time of it; just such a 
time as lays up repentance and humiliation, and 
self-abasement, when the sober second thought calls 
up the follies of the past. We were entirely regular, 
so long as we remained at table, and in tiie equable 
atmosphere of the room, but when we got out into 
the piercing cold outside, all at once the lights 
seemed to be dancing a quadrille with the houses, 
and the streets with their lamps seemed to go up in 
a long vista towards the sky. Everything seemed 
in motion. The buildings got out into the middle 
of the streets. The Old City Hall was tumiDg a 
somersault, and the horses and carts, and car- 
riages seemed to be all standing straight up on end, 
or going perpendicidarly up towards the stars, that 
were dodging about in a manner that was a sight 
to behold. The side-walks were steep, very steep, 
and it was an up-hill business to travel upon them. 
"We remember catching around a lamp-post that 



230 Country Makgins. 

was liunying up Broadway, on a two-forty gait, 
just as the glass came down in a crash around us, 
a friend of ours having thrown his hickory cane at 
it to stop the runaway. At that instant, a kind 
gentleman, who belonged to the night watch, intro- 
duced himself to our acquaintance. What the 
subject of his remarks -was we do not remember, 
but when he said watch-house, we said " a carriage, 
"Western Hotel, call in the morning, all right, go 
ahead." The rest is a blank. We awoke in the 
morning about ten o'clock, in our own room at oxir 
hotel, with ten thousand bees humming and swarm- 
ing in our head, temples throbbing with pain, and 
a deep sense of shame in our heart. That night's 
experience satisfied us. If we cannot be jolly with- 
out a recourse to artificial stimulants, we have made 
up our mind to " go mourning all our days." It is 
a bad thing, a dangerous thing, to trifle with this 
"fire-water." Better play with the forked light- 
ning, better grapple with the locomotive when he 
comes crashing and thundering along, screaming 
and roaring with the voice of the arch-fiend, and 
hurling forward with the speed of the wind, his 
ponderous train. 



Well, friend Margins, if part we must, so be it. 
To us, at least, our season of communion, brief 
tho\igh it be, has been pleasant. We shall look back 
upon it as one of the green spots of a life that haa 



Pabbwell. 281 

been to some extent a barren one. There are many 
desolate places along whicli its course has been, and 
few flowers have bloomed by the wayside. But 
"addio" be it, and God bless you and all those that 
you love. May health and strength return to you, 
may no sorrow cast its dark shadow around you. 
May your life be a long and a happy one, and may 
your last hour be the happiest of all, by reason of 
" the faith that leans upon God." 



COUIS^TIIY HUMBLES. 



OOTTTsTTRY HUMBLES. 



I. 



GANAUDAIOUA — PENN YAK — CROOKED LAKE — 
BATH — HOKNELLSVILLE. 

I AM at Canandaigua, certainly one of tlie most 
beautiful country towns in the State. The scenery 
about it is not grand or sublime; there are no rug- 
ged mountains rearing their tall heads to the cloudsi 
frowning in eternal barrenness upon majestic rivers 
sweeping around their base, or lakes sleeping in 
quiet valleys below them ; there are no waterfalls 
rushing down from the lulls in foaming cascades, or 
winding in deep ravines among old primeval woods; 
but there is that which is better. There are rich 
farms spread out all around, far as the eye can 
reach, fields of grain waving in the summer breeze, 
meadows covered with rich grass ready for the 
mower, and pastures in which flocks and herds are 
feeding; fine farm-houses hid away among the tall 
trees and shrubbery, and bams filled with the pro- 
ducts of agriculture, are in view. On the south is 
a beautiful lake winding away around low promon- 
tories, with cultivated fields or patches of green 



236 Country Eambles. 

woods stretcMng away from the beach. Such is 
the scenery around Canandaigua. There are pleas- 
ant drives in every direction. The road that winds 
along the shore of the lake will afford a delightful 
ride of a summer morning or evening, and the other 
avenues leading away into the country are scarcely 
less pleasant. Everywhere are the evidences of 
wealth, of progress, and of civilization. Fine horses, 
fine cattle and sheep, and rich harvests, are con- 
stantly in view. These things are around Canan- 
daigua, outside of the village, within range of a 
walk or a drive. But the village itself affords a 
greater display of quiet beauty and taste than I 
have seen elsewhere. The houses are massive and 
elegant, surrounded by large and tastefully laid out 
grounds and gardens, decorated with the rarest 
flowers, and the richest shrubbery. There are 
" solid men," as Daniel Webster would say, in Can- 
andaigua — "soUd" in intelligence and social quali- 
ties, in moral and political influence, and solid in 
dollars. Men who live for something beyond the 
mere accumulation of wealth ; who will leave be- 
hind them a monument in the taste with which they 
have adorned the spots they occupy. These beau- 
tiful residences, the grounds decorated with rare 
shrubbery, and abounding in the richest fruits ; 
these gardens, sending abroad upon the air the 
fragrance of flowers that charm the vision by their 
beauty, and entrance the senses by their sweetness, 
are better than railroad stocks or vast investments 



A Beautitul Landscape. 237 

in the funds, to leave as a monument when one 
dies. The tree one plants, surviyes him ; the grape" 
vine remains when the hand that plants it is cold; 
the rose-bush blossoms when he who placed it in the 
garden is alone in the quiet house of death ; and 
while the tree bears its fruit, the grape-vine its rich 
clusters, or the rose its sweet blossoms, his name 
will remain connected with them, as if chiselled in 
marble. I remember that in one of the old towns 
of New England, I was conversing with a lady who 
is not unknown to fame, when she pointed to some 
elms that stood on the lawn in front of her dwell- 
ing, and said, "these trees were planted by my 
grandfather," and then pointing to some venerable 
pear-trees that hung with then \inripe fruit, said, 
"those were planted by the original proprietor of 
these grounds, of whom my, grandfather purchased 
them." The name she gave I have forgotten, but 
it was associated with the old pear-trees, and had been 
for more than a hundred years. And so it will be 
with the trees and shrubbery of these beautifiil 
grounds. They will preserve the memory of those 
who placed them where they stand, and for genera- 
tions be a monument to their virtues and their 
name. 

From an observatory on the top of one of the 
most splendid dwellings in the village, I had a view 
of the country around. The glass was slightly 
stained, of the windows through which I looked, 
and it gave a mellowness to the picture that was 



238 Country Rambles. 

exceedingly beautiful. I have never been in Italy; 
I know about an Italian sunset, only from descrip- 
tions by tourists and from paintings by masters of 
the art, but if an Italian sunset exceeds in beauty 
the prospect that was before me, as I looked from 
that observatory, it is then beautiftil indeed. The 
lake, the farms and avenues lined with trees in the 
distance, the village residences, the gardens and 
grounds near by, and the delightful walks and trees, 
and rich fruits and flowers immediately beneath and 
around me, formed a landscape which, seen in the 
mellow light afforded by the stained glass of the 
windows through which I looked, no painter could 
transfer to canvas, or Italy excel. 

I dined with the owner of this residence and his 
excellent lady, in the true style of Scotch hospi- 
tality. They were among the pioneers of what 
years ago was known as the Genesee Country. 
They have seen the ancient forests standing on the 
site of Canandaigua, and stretching away to the 
great lakes, and they have watched the progress of 
that war which civilization makes upon the old 
primeval things, sweeping away the woods and 
spreading out broad farms, planting churches and 
school-houses, and building up cities and towns. 
They heard the first blast of the stage coachman's 
horn, on the great stage route through the centre of 
the State, and they heard its dying echoes as it was 
succeeded by the scream of the steam- whistle and 
the snort of the iron horse. They shared the trials 



Declining Years of Life. 239 

and hardships incident to the settlement of a new 
country, and in their declining years they are 
reaping a rich harvest, as the reward of their perse- 
verance and energy. May they be long spared to 
enjoy the fruits of their labors; and when their 
appointed time shall come, may they pass away 
quietly and calmly as the last lingering stars pass 
from the twilight of morning into the brightness of 
the perfect day. 

As we were walking in the garden after dinner, 
among the beautiful and rare flowers and shrubbery, 
I said to the excellent lady of the mansion, " It 
seems to me that you are blessed, certainly not 
beyond your deserts, but beyond the ordinary lot 
of the people of this world. You have wealth, and 
you have the taste to use and enjoy it. You have 
this beautiful mansion, and these delightful grounds, 
these flowers, these fruit and shade trees, these 
pleasant walks, and all that can make life pleasant. 
You have health, and spirits to enjoy it all. While 
I, who have all the love for all these things, have 
neither house nor grounds, can cultivate no shrub- 
bery or flowers. My life is a long struggle for 
bread." 

" My friend," she replied, and a shade of sadness 
came over her countenance as she spoke, " we do 
not differ so much from you. We have no children 
to bestow our affections upon. You have. Would 
you exchange them for all that you have seen here? 
They are your garden." 



240 COUNTET EAMBLES. 

And I thouglit of tlie cherished flower that death 
had so recently plucked from the garden of my 
home, and how I missed its perfume, and that I 
would give all the treasures of earth, were they 
mine, to look upon the sweet blossom again. 

There is, at Canandaigua, one of the finest hotels 
in the country. It is spacious and new. The 
rooms axe large and airy, and furnished with great 
taste and neatness. In no hotel have I found more 
care or attention paid to the comfort and conve- 
nience, and even the luxury of the guests. To 
those who love quiet, who would be away from the 
bustle and noise of a city, who have no taste for the 
excitement of the watering-places or fashionable 
resorts, Canandaigua offers peculiar inducements to 
tempt a stay. The hotel, I repeat, is among the 
very best in the State. The country around is 
charming, the drives delightful. Everything that 
can add to the luxury of quiet and repose during 
the heat of summer, is to be found here. 



I am at Penn Yan, the county seat of Yates 
County, a neat and prosperous village ia one of the 
smallest, but richest counties of the State. The 
farms around it are productive, admirably managed, 
and the farmers are rich. In no part of the State 
has there been a more rapid progress in improve- 
ment and wealth made. It is a pleasant thing to 



Penn Yan Then and Now. 241 

see the great fields of grain, of wheat just ready for 
the harvest, of barley ripening for the sickle, of oats 
yet in their coat of green, and com even with the 
fences, just in the gorgeous hvery of a thrifty 
growth. Time was when Penn Yan by no means 
enjoyed the best name in the world for morals. It 
was once emphatically a hard place, a place of hprse 
trading, horse racing, card playing, of drinking, 
and the other proclivities which go to make up an 
evil reputation. But all these things belong to the 
past, and Penn Yan is now as distinguished for its 
public virtue, its high tone of public morals, as it 
was, in days long gone by, for its evil practices. 
Churches and school-houses, and the persevering 
effort and example of good men, have wrought an 
utter revolution in its moral character. Its vices 
have been forsaken, its evil practices abandoned. 
The bad men who stained its reputation with their 
evil courses, have passed away, or forsaken then- 
bad ways. Penn Yan is a sober village, full of 
enterprise, energy and industry, where the right 
tone of morals prevails. 

In sight of Penn Yan is the Crooked Lake. 
This beautiful sheet of water has, to me, a thousand 
charms, and as I look upon it a rush of pleasant 
memories come clustering around my heart. I was 
reared npon its banks ; I have floated a thousand 
. times upon its surface, and bathed and fished in its 
waters ; I have caught hundreds of salmon trout 
out in the deep water, and thousands of yellow 



242 COITNTET Eambles. 

percli and sunfisli along the sliore, or on the points 
of the bars, -where the ecpiatic weeds grow thick 
and luxuriant, like a cane-brake or a wild meadow 
away down in the water. I remember when my 
father's log house stood at the head of the lake, 
some forty rods back from the shore, with a gentle 
slope of meadow to the water's edge. Great maples 
that had been spared when the old forest trees were 
swept away, stood a few rods apart in that meadow, 
spreading abroad their leafy arms, and rising in the 
summer tiine like pyramids of green towards the 
sky. Midway from the door to the lake was a 
cluster of some half dozen of these beautiful trees, 
from among the roots of which a cold pure spring 
came gushing up, and ran in a little brooklet over 
a bed of pebbles to the lake. It was a new country 
then. No highway or road extended beyond my 
father's clearing. He lived eight miles from a mill, 
and the same distance from a store or a physician. 
But all this is changed now. Where then was that 
meadow, and fields full of stumps, or old primeval 
woods, is now a thriving village of some fifteen 
hundred busy people. All the ancient landmarks 
have been removed. Civilization, in its onward 
progress, has swept everything that then was to 
oblivion. The old maples are gone, the clustering 
plum trees, the tall sycamores, the hickory, the 
butternut and the wild cherry trees are all gone. 
That beautiful spring is in the cellar of a village 
store. The house that "I was bom in" is gone. 



A Beautiful Sheet of Watek. 243 

and its place occupied by a pleasant village resi- 
dence. 

This was a beautiful sheet of water long years 
ago, when there were few clearings along its shores, 
and it is a beautiful sheet of water stUl. The forest 
that grew in dense luxuriance to the water's edge, 
by its gigantic growth indicated the strength of the 
son. Where that forest stood, are now rich farms, 
giving back wealth to the descendants of the hardy 
pioneers that swept it away. The scenery around 
this lake is most beautiful — ^not Hke that of Lake 
George, where rocks and mountains are piled up in 
stately barrenness, opposing their bald heads to the 
storm, or hiding their summits in the mists of 
heaven. The scenery of Lake George is grand, 
subKme ; but is the grandeur of sterility, the sub- 
limity of desolation. Civilization can never beau- 
tify or adorn its rugged acclivities ; agriculture 
cannot thrust its sickle into ripened grain, nor the 
ploughshare penetrate the granite soil that surrounds 
it. It may be a resort for the traveller in the 
summer months, to enjoy the freshness of the 
mountain air, and the coolness of the mountain 
breeze, but civilization cannot winter there. 

The scenery about this lake is of a different 
character. It speaks of wealth, of comfort, of intel- 
ligence, of civilization and progress. The farms 
that stretch away in gentle acclivity from the shore 
are rich in agricultural products, great fields of 
wheat, just passing into yeUow ripeness, waving 



244 COUNTEY Eambles. 

like an ocean in a gentle breeze. Meadows, wliieh 
are now being sbom by tlie mowers — acres upon 
acres of oats and com, now in their richest robe of 
luxurious green — ^pastures where flocks and herds 
are grazdng. Painted houses and great bams, 
patches of woodland left to supply fuel, and timber 
for fences and building. These make up the land- 
scape that skirts the Crooked Lake. There is no 
lack of secluded bays or shaded nooks, into which 
the httle row-boat may glide, nor rugged promon- 
tories coyered with stately trees, beneath the shadow 
of which one may luxuriate, safe from the noonday 
heat, and refreshed by the cool breeze that sweeps 
over the water. Midway between Penn Yan and 
the head of the lake is Bluff Point, around the base 
of which the lake sweeps, and which forms a penin- 
sula, separating the east from the west branch of 
the lake. This point, as it is called, is a hill of 
some thousand feet in height, rising with a steep 
acchvity, but cultivated to the water's edge. On 
the top it is comparatively level, and presenting for 
some eight or ten nules a beautiful farming country. 
At the highest elevation stands a pleasant farm 
house, overlooking the lake and all the country 
roimd. Seen from the water, it stands out in bold 
relief against the sky, like some ancient castle of 
the barons of old. From Penn Yan to this dwell- 
ing, is a pleasant ride of some ten or twelve miles 
over a plank road most of the way. When there, 
the traveller will have a view worth a day's ride to 



A Beautiful Vallky. 245 

look upon. He will be far above tbe surrouncliiig 
country. On three sides of him will be the lake 
with the beautiful scenery that skirts it. To the 
East he wiU overlook a country of forest and farms 
for miles and miles, within which he will see two or 
three smaller lakes ; to the north he wiU see Penn 
Yan, and the rich agricultural district that surrounds 
it, and beyond, the Seneca Lake. Away to the south 
he will be charmed by the beautiful valley that 
stretches away from the head of the lake, and is 
lost among the hills that hem in the valley of the 
Conhocton ; while to the west his eye wiU wander 
over a country more wild and rugged, but still rich 
and beautiful. No traveller should leave Penn Yan 
without visiting Bluff Point. Nor should he fail to 
take a passage over the lake in the pleasant little 
steamer Steuben. In Captain John Greig he wiU. 
find an intelligent and courteous gentleman — one 
who loves his boat and the lake he navigates, and 
the country and the people round it; who loves to 
point out the beauties of the scenery, and hear the 
tourist respond to his own enthusiasm. He is, as I 
said, an intelligent man, not profoundly educated in 
scholastic lore, but one who has read and thought a 
vast deal. Talk about the birds, and you will find 
him an omothologist. He will show you his collec- 
tion of birds, prepared in a superior manner by 
himself Among these he will point out to you a 
loon or northern diver, taken on a hook upon a 
night line in more than a hundred feet of water. 



246 Country Eambles. 

Talk about the fishes, and you will find him deeply 
conversant with piscatory lore. Talk of the animals 
that, when the country was wild, frequented the 
forests in this portion of the country, and you will 
find him at home on the subject. In whatever 
relates to nature, and the living things of nature, he 
is learned as careful reading and study can make a 
man of his years. 

I go up the Lake with him to-morrow, and shall 
write you again. I go to visit the old scenes of my 
boyhood. Though everything is changed, though 
the old land marks that I loved are all gone, yet I 
love to linger around the spot where my early youth 
was spent, and call up visions of scenes long, long 
past. I love to call back the brave old trees, the 
fields, the fences, the stumps, the gushing spring, 
and brushing away the houses and the streets, place 
them as they stood of old. I love to call up the old 
maples that stood in the meadow between the old 
log house and the lake, in all their ancient verdure, 
and talk with the unseen spirits that people their 
green foliage. I love to tear away the store houses, 
the docks, and the great high wall that usurp the 
place of the little bay at the northwest corner of the 
lake, that shot landward beneath the spreading arms 
of the ancient elms and oaks, up whose great trunks 
the wild grape-vine climbed, and creeping out along 
the branches, covered them with its tendrils like a 
net work, and spread out its broad green leaves like 
a thatched roof, shutting out the light of the sun. 



Cbooked Lake Eeminiscences, 217 

And yet it is a sad tiling to visit these old places and 
see the mighty change that has come over them. 



I am on the Crooked Lake, a passenger in the 
pleasant little steamer Steuben, under the command 
of Captain John Geeig, of whom I have spoken 
before. AU that I said of him then was true, all 
that I said of the scenery around this lake is true, 
unless it be that I have failed to do it justice. I 
said I was reared upon the banks of this lake, and 
that as I looked upon its pure clear water, and upon 
the lulls, the gentle slopes, the valleys and the 
streams that come to it wandering away from the 
country, a crowd of sad, but pleasant memories 
come clustering around my heart. It is not now as 
it was then. Everything is changed. The old 
forests are gone, the tall pines, the majestic oaks, 
the maples, the sycamores, the gigantic elms, the 
lofty lindens, the wild cherry and the butternut 
trees, old primeval things all, are gone. Let me 
describe it to you as my memory paints it, before 
civihzation had robbed it of its ancient beauty, as it 
lay here in the midst of the wilderness, sleeping 
alone. Let us look upon it as it was years and 
years ago, when I was a boy. We will talk with 
the old settlers, the pioneers that first made war 
upon the forests that stood in primitive sohtude 
about it. They were the vanguard of civilization, 



248 CouNTBY Rambles. 

and changed by their labor tbat great wilderness 
into fruitful fields. True, they bave all passed 
away, dropped into bonored graves, but we wiU 
call' tbeir spirits around us, and tbey will tell us of 
tbe times of old, of tbe scenes of tbe early settle- 
ments, of tbeir struggles and bardsbips. Tbey can 
tell us many a story connected witb tbis lake tbat 
bas lain bere so long unappreciated and unbonored. 
We will not look upon tbe beautiful farms, tbe vil- 
lages tbat now are found upon its sbores. "We will 
people tbe fields witb tbe old forest trees, and brusb 
away tbe bouses and barns. We will take away 
tbe fences, and remove aU tbese evidences of civili- 
zation. Where tbe flocks and berds are feeding in 
ricb pastures, we will replace tbe deer and bear, 
and tbe otber wild animals tbat roamed there before 
tbe woodman's axe frightened .them away, or the 
hunter's rifle doomed them to destruction. We will 
do as I did more than thirty years ago, when there 
were but few clearings along tbe shore, go a voyage 
around the lake in a canoe made from the trunk of 
a gigantic pine. I earned my first five dollars by 
that voyage. I was hired by two English gentle- 
men to row them round the lake. Tbey were kind- 
hearted men, for when they saw, boy tbat I was, 
that I was weary, they relieved me in turn from 
the oars. We were four days in making the circuit 
of the lake, but the guinea they paid rae made me 
richer than I have ever been since. 

At the northwest comer of tbe lake was a beauti- 



Killing My Fiest Deeb. 249 

ful little bay, stretching landward some five or 
six rods by two or three in width. Above it the 
branches of taU oaks and elms were intertwined, 
and the wild grapes that crept up their great trunks, 
spread their net- work all over the tops of the trees, 
and made with their broad leaves an arbor through 
the arches of which the sun never shone. The water 
of this little bay was clear as crystal, and the white 
pebbles on the bottom, some three or four feet down 
in the water, were as visible as though nothing but 
air was above them. At the head of the bay, a 
cold spring that came gushing up at a few rods dis- 
tant, entered. From this little bay I have caught, 
first and last, hundreds of speckled trout weighing 
from half of a pound to three or four times that 
' weight. But it is all filled up now — stores and 
shops, and a street, and docks, and a great high 
wall occupy the place of that little bay, and those 
old elms and oaks, and that spring, have all disap- 
peared. I killed my first deer as he stooped his 
head to drink of the water of that little bay. I had 
watched him from my hiding-place for ^n hour, as 
he came browsing along the side of the hill. Just 
as the sun was going down, he stepped from the 
thick bushes on to the pebbly beach, and after look- 
ing all around him, and snnffing the air, he stepped 
confidently into the water to slake his thirst. My 
rifle was upon him, the ball that sped fi-om it pene- 
trated his brain, and he fell dead. Further south, 
stood a tall sycamore, the roots of which were laved 
11 



250 Country Eambles. 

by tlie water ; upon the dead brandies, near the 
top of which, was a favorite perch for the fish-hawk, 
as he watched for his prey. Occasionally a bald 
eagle would alight there to plume himself, and 
watch for the wild ducks that frequented the lake. 
Further south still, were a few acres of low marshy 
ground, where the main inlet entered, where the 
musk-rats built their houses, and the mink and the 
otter stole along the margin in pursuit of prey. 
The inlet took its rise some seven or eight miles up 
the valley, in a multitude of large springs, and it 
was full of the speckled trout. Let us pause here, 
and call up some of the old -settlers, whose farms 
extended from this "big creek," as it was called, 
which flowed along through the centre of the val- 
ley, back to the hiUs. Judge Bakee, I believe, was 
the first white man who stuck his stake in that val- 
ley, and commenced the war against the ancient 
forests, that has been carried on ever since with 
such relentless vigor. His farm is now in posses- 
sion of his son, and a most beautiful one it is — ^rich 
in all tWt belongs to agriculture, and cultivated to 
a charm. 

Judge Baker was a most remarkable man, 
strong in physical strength, one calculated to en- 
dure the hardships of a new country, but stronger 
still in native, vigorous, common sense. I remem- 
ber him well. In his latter years, when his early 
industry had relieved him from the necessity to 
labor, he was a reading man, and was always a 



One of the First Settlers. 251 

thoughtful one. He was the first who explored 
that region with a view to settling there. He came 
from Pennsylvania up the valley of the Conhocton, 
and reaching the place where the village of Bath 
now stands, struck off through the valley towards 
the head of this lake. The forest around the lake 
was exceedingly dense, and before reaching it he 
climbed into a high tree, to take a look about him. 
He was not aware of its proximity, and when 
he had reached the topmost branches of the tree, 
there it lay within fifty rods of him, its waters calm 
and stn], unruffled by a wave or a ripple. Two 
Indians were paddling their canoe along the shore, 
going down the lake, while several deer were feed- 
ing among the grass and water lilies that grew 
about the mouth of the inlet. I have listened often 
and often to the old man's description of this beau- 
tiful sheet of water, as he then saw it for the first 
time. How he descended from his perch on the 
tall old elm, and worked his way to the pebbly 
beach, and how calm and still it was, how the tall 
forest trees cast their shadows out over the water 
as the sun was sinking in the west. How solemn 
and moveless the hills stood around. How the 
trout leaped in their gleesomeness from the surface, 
and schools of the yellow perch made the water 
boil in spots around. How he shot a deer that was 
feeding along the margin ; how gently but gloomi- 
ly the night shadows gathered around him ; how 
the fireflies flashed their little torches in the dark- 



252 COUNTEY Eambles. 

ness ; how he slept on his bed of boughs, in a brush 
shanty built by himself; how gloriously the sun 
came up in the morning over the eastern hills, cast- 
ing his brightness on the rippling waters, and mak- 
ing them glisten in the sunlight, like a sheet of fire. 
I remember, as I heard him describe the scene, 
how I thought I should hke to have been with him 
on his exploring tour that time, and looked upon 
the lake as it lay there all alone, surrounded only 
by those old forests, and navigated only by the 
wild men of the woods. It would have been a 
thing to remember always. 

My father came there some years later, but while 
the lake was still surrounded almost entirely by 
woods. True, there were at long intervals clearings 
along the shore. But its primitive wildness was 
gone. Civilization began to develop itself there as 
long ago as I can remember, and I could only 
watch its progress as it moved forward. 

My father had become security for a friend in the 
loan of money, and to indemnify himself from loss, 
had taken a mortgage upon a negro, (slavery exist- 
ed then in this State.) The debt fell upon my father, 
and he became the owner of a man. Old Shadrach 
was a Yirginian by nurture, but an African by birth, 
having been imported in his infancy. He had a 
mortal fear of snakes and toads, and he could be 
frightened into anything by the threat of putting a 
snake or a toad in his bed. I call him old, because he 
was between forty and fifty at my earliest recollection. 



A Frightened Negro. 253 

and of course became older before he died. Old Sha- 
dracli ran away regularly two or three times a year. 
He would stay away sometimes a fortnight, some- 
times a month, and on two or three occasions so 
long that my father began to congratulate himself 
upon being rid of him entirely. But some morning 
old Shadrach would come crawling out from the 
hay mow, and promise "massa" that he would 
never run away again as long as he lived. Sha- 
drach, as I said, stood in mortal fear of snakes. 
He was one day fishing in a canoe on the lake, and 
drew up what he took to be a rattlesnake. He 
dropped his pole in horror and leaped overboard, 
yelling and screaming for help as if a thousand In- 
dians were scalping him. He could swim like a 
duck, and he struck out, screaming in horror at 
every pull. Upon reaching the shore he broke like 
a quarter-horse for the house. My father, who was 
at a short distance, hurried up, to know the reason 
of the outcry. " Massa," cried Shadrach in all the 
earnestness of terror, "de lake is full of rattle- 
snakes." "Get out, you wooUy-pated rhinoceros," 
replied my father, " who ever heard of rattlesnakes 
in the water?" My father went out ia another 
canoe to the one in which Shadrach had been fish- 
ing, and upon securing the pole, which was floating 
about, found that Shadrach had hooked a great eel, 
a fish by no means common in the lake. But Sha- 
drach regardiug it as belonging to the family of 



254 Country Rambles. 

snakes, never trusted himself alone after that on 
tlie water. 

Let us pass along down on the eastern shore, 
close along under the hill. The land is rugged 
here, the hill rising in steep acclivity several hun- 
dred feet. It is early morning. See how the sun- 
light first rests upon the hills on the western side 
of the lake. Eemember it is all woods there ; see 
the shadow retreating in a long line down the side 
of the hill ; see, it has reached the water. It is ten 
o'clock, and we are still in the s"hade. We are five 
miles from the head of the lake, in a beautiful little 
bay under the lee of " "Welles' Point." The clear- 
ing that we see, is that of Dr. Welles, the father of 
the Hon. Henpy Welles, one of the Judges of the 
Supreme Court. Dr. Welles was one of the pio- 
neers of the region along the lake. He was a man 
of energy and learning, and of infinite usefulness 
in the early settlement of the country. This is the 
only clearing in sight, save that from which we 
started. (We are speaking of times "long ago.") 
His log house stands back from the bay in which 
our canoe is floating. I have, when a child, accom- 
panied my father and mother on a visit to Dr. 
Welles — ^not in a carriage, along a pleasant road 
skirted by green fields, but in a canoe or skiff; my 
mother seated in the stern with a trolling line in her 
hand, with the hook a hundred feet or more behind 
her ; myself seated in the bow and my father row- 



Good Old Times. 255 

ing. I have travelled tliat way more than once, 
listening to the songs that my father and mother 
sang as we sailed along, and have seen her draw in 
many a trout on the way. Good old times those, 
when the men in that region " chopped down and 
chopped up" acres and acres of woods ; when they 
** sheared their own fleece and wore it" Let us 
rest in this little bay and talk of the times of old, 
when everything was wild and natural, before 
steamboats came ploughing their way through these 
waters, or the scfeam of the steam-whistle was 
heard. 

Dr. "Welles was the first settler within miles of 
this locality. He came from Columbia county, in 
the summer of 17 — , cleared a few acres, and put 
up a log house, and the next summer brought his 
family to reside here. Boards were scarce in those 
days. When he built his house he had enough for 
the roof and the floors, but not for the doors. 
"When his family took possession, they hung blank- 
ets at the opening for doors, and the family for sev- 
eral nights slept on beds made up on the floor. 
The Doctor brought with him a negro slave, who 
rejoiced in the distinguished cognomen of Scipio 
Africanus, which by such liberties as white people 
take with the names of colored persons, was stripped 
of its euphony, and reduced to simple Sip. Old 
Sip, with the rest, had his bed in a comer. One 
morning it was discovered that his face was paler, 
and his hair straighter than common, his great white 



256 Country Rambles. 

eyes had a bolder prominence. His hand trembled 
like that of a man who had indulged in a debauch 
over night, and his words were tremulous and inco- 
herent. Something was evidently wrong with Sip. 
Nobody knew of his having been sick; he had 
made no complaint, he had uttered no groan, he 
had lain abed after the others were stirring, with 
the blanket drawn partly over his head, leaving only 
his great eyes glistening the more brightly in con- 
trast with the ebony of his skin. The Doctor rous- 
ed him from his bed, got him up on end, questioned 
and cross-questioned him, but could get nothing 
coherent from him, and it was not till a strong ap- 
plication of old Jamaica, that Sip's recollection 
came back, and enabled him to tell his story. He 
was laying awake long after the others had gone to 
sleep, when, as he affirmed, a great black animal 
pushed aside the blanket that hung in the place of 
a door, and walked around to the beds that were 
ranged on the floor, paused a moment at Sip's bed, 
and then walked leisurely out. There were two 
things confirmatory of Sip's story. First, he was 
frightened by something as near out of his wits 
as it was possible for a human being to be ; and 
secondly, there was found on the boards of the floor 
several tracks resembling those made by a bear, 
when his foot is wet with dew, and the bottom of it 
covered with earth. Whatever the truth of the 
matter may have been, the Doctor believed the as- 
sertion of Sip, and the collateral evidence of the 



A Beak Instead of a Deer. 257 

tracks, and always supposed that a bear had invad- 
ed the privacy of his dwelling that night. This 
anecdote I had from Judge Welles, who is not a 
man to indulge in fictions. 

It was a common thing for the deer to swim the 
lake in the summer time, and many were taken by 
the Doctor's family by pursuing them with a canoe 
in the water. On one occasion, a deer, as was sup- 
posed, was seen swimming across the lake, from the 
west, towards the eastern shore, and a daughter of 
the Doctor, who subsequently was the wife, and is 
now the widow of the late General Geo. McCluke, 
together with Sip, put out in a canoe in pursuit. 
Away off in the forest, among the new settlements, 
young ladies are more courageous than they are in 
the cities, and come to understand woodcraft, and 
love the wild sports of the forest and lake almost as 
well as their brothers do. I have seen those who 
could fire a rifle with the precision of a marksman, 
who could row a skiff or paddle a canoe with the 
best, who were successful anglers for the speckled 
trout, and could take the salmon trout with a troll- 
ing Une on the lake. And yet, they lacked nothing 
of the natural refinement and innate modesty that 
belong to the true woman. I said the daughter of 
Doctor "Welles and Sip started in pursuit of the 
deer that was swimming the lake. He swam but 
slowly, and they easily overtook him. The young 
lady was in the stern of the canoe, and Sip was in 
the bow. As they approached the game, Sip's eyes 
11* 



258 COUNTET Eambles. 

began to open witli astonishment. " Golla, Missus," 
he cried, " dat deer am black — my ! he ain't got no 
horns, he ain't got no long ears, nudder." As they 
approached nearer. Sip's paddle was suspended, and 
his teeth began to chatter — " Dat no deer, dat de 
debil," he shouted, as he tumbled over in the bot- 
tom of the canoe in utter affright. But whatever it 
was, the canoe was close upon it, and then it turned 
to give battle. It was a huge bear, and such a set 
of ivory as it showed was a sight to see. In the 
astonishment of the moment, the canoe had float- 
ed within reach of the now furious animal, and 
he threw his great paw up on the bow. "Let go 
dat," cried Sip, as, with a last effort of despair, he 
struck a furious blow with his paddle. The bear 
caught the oar with his paw, and hurled it to a dis- 
tance in the water, but his hold of the canoe was 
loosed, and by a skilful movement, the young lady 
sent it beyond his reach. A spare paddle was in 
the canoe, and the way Sip and she pulled for the 
shore, was astonishing. They arrived in time for 
the Doctor to return with his gun and axe, and 
dispatch the animal before he reached the shore. 
See those stately old elms on the point, how they 
tower up towards the sky, stretching abroad their 
leafy arms in dalliance with the summer winds, and 
casting their morning shadows away out on the 
water. They grew there from the seed planted by 
the hand of nature, and where they stand others as 
gigantic have grown, till weakened by decay or 



Passing Down the Lake. 259 

riven by the lightning, the storm hurled them to 
the ground, to rot where they fell. In the times of 
old the deer crouched in the heat of noon in their 
shade. The elk may have browsed upon the tender 
plants beneath them, or the bear clambered up 
their great trunks. But they are gone now, and 
the willow, and smaller shrubbery planted by the 
hand of man, occupy their place. Strange that 
those stately old elms should have been removed to 
give place to trees of a lower dignity, and a meaner 
growth. Strange that when civilization sweeps 
away the old forests, it does not leave more of the 
ancient monarchs of the woods standing where they 
grew, as memorials of its triumphs over nature, and 
as witnesses of the achievements of human strength 
and labor. 

Let us pass on down the lake. I must remind 
you that we have swept away these fields, and 
houses, and bams. We have restored the forest in 
its primitive grandeur. "We have banished the 
horses, and cattle, and sheep, and have called back 
the wild animals that belonged here in the times of 
old. Five miles below " Welles' Point" we enter 
another little bay or cove, formed by a point of 
land running far out into the lake. I was here 
more than thirty years ago. It was all wild then, 
all woods. There was neither farm-house nor clear- 
ing in sight. On the voyage round the lake with 
the two Englishmen, as before mentioned, we 
rowed silently round this point, and saw a noble 



260 COUNTEY Eambles. 

deer swimming out from the shore, as if starting 
across the lake. He had antlers like a stag, and 
■when we came in sight, he wheeled towards the 
shore with the snort of a war-horse. The English- 
men had a rifle along, and as he was almost at the 
shore, one of them fired upon and killed him. He 
was a noble animal. We dined upon venison that 
day, and a more delicious meal I have never tasted, 
though it was cooked ia a primitive way, by a fire 
built on the shore of the lake. From this little 
bay let us cross over to Bluff Point. We are 
opposite to it now. See how it looms up towards 
the sky, covered with a dense forest. The top of 
that hill is the highest land in sight, by hundreds 
of feet. It is no mountain peak, piercing, in 
stately barrenness, the heavens, but a rounded 
promontory, rising on three sides from the water, 
and seems to us, as we look upon it, like a great 
island in the midst of the lake. It seems close by 
us, and yet to reach its base we must row a mile 
and a half. See how the " West Branch" winds 
around, and seems to hide away behind and among 
the hills. Look away off towards Penn Yan. 
There, too, the lake seems to steal around behind high 
promontories, to lose itself in the forest of great 
trees. It was a beautiful view from this point 
" long ago," and it is beautiful still. Then it was 
romantic and wild, as nature made it, with all the 
old things standing round, as she placed them when 
she threw this earth finished from her hands. 



The Sweet-Voiced Birds. 261 

Now it is robbed of its ancient dress, and decorat- 
ed by the ingenuity, tbe labor, and the industry of 
man. Fields are where forests stood, and the things 
that civilization gathers around it, make up the 
landscape. Which is the more beautiful, I leave 
others to determine. For myself, I love nature in 
her old primitive garments, and I love civilization 
with her smiling, though painted face. I love the 
old woods, and I love the fields. I love the wild 
things, and I love the tame things too. All I bar- 
gain for is to leave me the birds, the happy, the 
free, the sweet- voiced birds. You may sweep away 
the forests. It is best that they should be removed. 
It is necessary for the progress, and to meet the 
necessities of humanity. Launch your steamboats 
upon lake and river, and send forth your iron 
horse, thundering along the valleys, spread out 
your farms, push back the woods with the fields, 
build your cities and towns, destroy the deer and 
the wild animals that must perish with the forests, 
but leave me the birds, the happy singing-birds, and 
I am content. 

"We will now row westward, aroimd the base of 
Bluff Point, six. miles to the head of the West 
Branch. On both sides of the branch the hills rise 
with greater or less acclivity, but nowhere so steep 
as to prevent cultivation. At the head of the , 
branch is a beautiful valley stretching away to the 
northwest, through the centre of which winds a 
small stream alive with the speckled trout. Pines, 



262 Country Eambles. 

and elms, and oaks, witli the wild cherry, butternut 
and maple trees, constitute the principal growth of 
timber. Remember we are speaking still of " long, 
long ago." There is a neat village here now sur- 
rounded by rich farms. It was all forest when I 
passed a night on the banks here on my first voyage 
round the lake. "We wiU pass along south again 
on our return to the head of the lake. The lull 
on the west side of the lake and the rising grounds 
for miles were covered with a forest of pines. High- 
growing stately trees, like the masts of a tall ship. 
No axe had as yet marred their beauty, and they 
stood here clothed in fadeless green, and murmur- 
ing softly and solemnly as the breeze stirred in their 
fohage. This forest of pines has been swept away, 
and you see fields of grain and pastures, and 
meadows where they stood. 

We pass along to IngersoU's Point, three miles 
from the head of the lake. "We will land here, and 
see how this point of land was formed. "We go a 
few rods on the main land, and we enter a ravine or 
gulf as it is called. The hill-side is steep, but we 
walk on a level, straight into the lull. A little 
stream goes laughing along over the smooth stones. 
It is tranquil and pleasant now, good-humored and 
gay ; but when the snows are melting and the spring 
jjfreshets come, it is a mad and a mighty torrent, 
roaring and foaming down the gorge, vast in volume 
and resistless in power. The rocks begin to rise on 
either hand higher and higher, and as we advance 



Foaming Cascade. 263 

a perpendicular wall of slate rock rises on either 
side to the height of a hundred feet. Before us 
now the little stream trickles with a gentle voice 
down the shelving rocks, from away up towards 
the top of the hUl, leaping from ledge to ledge. 
Our progress is stayed here, unless we choose to 
cHmb where a false step or a slip on the smooth 
rock would send us skiving in the gulf below. It 
is a goodly sight when the " stream is up," to see 
how it cascades down from the plain above into the 
gorge below, rushing, and tumbling, and roaring in 
white foam over the beetling rocks. " IngersoU's 
Point," and the acres of flat land stretching out 
into the lake, were made by the earth excavated 
from the hillside by the stream when its back was 
up. 

Captain GtEEIG is in his element to-day. He has 
a pic-nic party on board from Penn Yan, and they 
dine here on " IngersoU's Point." He has a company 
of a hundred " fair women and brave men," married 
and single, all cheerful and happy. They have a 
band on board, and quadrilles, and waltzes, and 
polkas occupy the young people, while the elders 
look on, and like myself, think of the times when 
they were young, when they " went out a gypsey- 
ing," and were merry in the dance. The dinner 
was spread on "the point," under the shadows of 
the brave old elms and on the green grass beneath 
their spreading branches. Towards evening aU 
were on board again, and the steamer started out on 



264 Country Eambles. 

her return voyage. As the sun went down we swept 
across the head of the lake, in view of the pleasant 
village of Hammondsport, and then headed away 
for Penn Yan. The darkness came down calmly 
and stniy. The winds were hushed, not a ripple 
was on the water save the long wake in the rear of 
the boat. It was a pleasant thing to hear the 
echoes that came back from the hUls, returning with 
a mellow harmony the music of the band ; and it 
was pleasanter still to look upon the happy faces of 
the young people as they glided about in the mazes 
of the dance, or chatted in the fulness of their glee. 
That was an evening to be remembered, the return 
of that party from their pic-nic on " Ingersoll's 
Point." 

I bid good-bye to the Crooked Lake with regret. 
I could linger here for months, busy with old 
memories and scenes of the "long, long ago" — 
scenes that like our youth belong to the return- 
less past, to be recalled only in fancy, that can come 
back to us only in dreams of the night. 



I am at Bath, the county seat of Steuben. This is 
another beautiful village, nesthng quietly among 
the hills of the Southern tier. It was among the 
early settlements of what was once called the West- 
ern Country. It was located by Chaeles Wil- 
liamson, the first proprietor of several millions of 



Thriving Village of Bath. 265 

acres, known as the Pultney estate. A pleasant 
farm tliat — one tliat might afford an industrious man, 
■who exercised a proper degree of economy, a good 
living, and enable him to portion off with a fair 
number of acres a reasonably large family of chil- 
dren. It was not so valuable when Sir "William 
Pultney became the proprietor as it is now, as it 
passed into his hands, as I have heard, for some- 
thing like a shilling an acre. 

Bath is a pleasant and a thriving vUlage, remark- 
able for its neatness and healthful location. On the 
East is a high mountain, rising in steep acclivity 
some eight or nine hiindred feet, whose rugged sides 
can never be cultivated, and along whose base the 
Conhocton river flows. In the early times, before 
the Erie Canal was built, Bath was the outlet to 
market for the grain of a broad sweep of country. 
It was regarded as the head of navigation, and was 
to be the site of a great city. You will not of course 
suppose that great ships visited its port, or even the 
periogues, formerly so common on the waters of the 
great West. There was but one direction to navi- 
gation from Bath, and that was down stream. Arks 
were built of pine planks, which would carry some 
thousand or fifteen hundred bushels. They were 
queer-shaped craft, not very well calculated to stand 
a rough sea, but they were made water-tight, and 
cost from $75 to $100 each. These were floated to 
the storehouses that stood down by the river, and 



266 Country Eambles. 

when the spring freshets came, the grain was turned 
into them in bulk, and covered from the rain ; with 
a pilot, and a hand at each long oar that projected 
away out at bow and stern, started with their freight 
on a retumless voyage towards the Chesapeake Bay. 
Their course was down the Conhocton to the Che- 
mung river, down that river to the Susquehanna, 
and down that noble river to tide water. These 
frail vessels did not always reach their destination. 
About one out of ten emptied its contents in the 
river as it was dashed against some unknown ob- 
struction, or was stranded on the shore through the 
unskilfulness of its pilot. Thousands upon thou- 
sands of bushels of grain found their way to market 
through this precarious channel, and Bath was 
looming up, when the canals were built and its 
glory departed. The ark of the Conhocton passed 
into history, the rats took possession of the store- 
houses, board after board fell from their sides, the 
roofs caved in, the beams rotted away; at length 
what was left of them tumbled to ruin, and the place 
where they stood is now a meadow where the mower 
swings his scythe, unconscious that he treads on 
historical ground. The course of trade from Bath 
for more than a quarter of a century, has been to the 
North, through the Seneca and Crooked Lake, and 
the Cayuga and Seneca Canals to Montezuma, and 
then on the Erie Canal to the Hudson, and so to 
New York. It is now changing again, not to the 



Daylight Among the Hills. 267 

ancient channel of tlie river, but to tlie New York 
and Erie Eailroad, and so to New York by tbat 
great thoroughfare. 

The mountains about Bath were famous, years 
ago, for deer, and I have spent many an exciting 
hoiir in the chase after them. It was a pleasant 
thing to start for the hilla while the light was just 
breaking in the East, while a few stars glimmered 
faintly in the sky, and the grayness of twilight 
lingered in the valleys. To feel the grass crisp 
with frost beneath your footfall, and see the mist 
rising from the river, and creeping up the sides of 
the hills. It was a pleasant thing to stand on the 
brow of that high green hill over against the village, 
just as the sun was coming up from his resting- 
place, and see how he threw his early light on the 
tops of the hUls on the east and west ; to mark how 
the shadow retreated from their sides down towards 
the valley, and when he rose above the forest treeS) 
how gloriously he started on his course. It was 
pleasant to look upon the clustered houses away 
down below you, and watch how the smoke came 
up from chimney after chimney, and went wreathing 
upward towards the sky. It was a pleasant thing 
to look upon the farms, the fields, and watch the 
flocks of sheep as they started from the fold, wend- 
ing, in the early morning, in a long line towards 
their pasture, and the cows gathering around the 
place of their milching. It was a pleasant thing to 
look upon that little lake, sleeping so qiuetly just 



268 CouNTEY Eambles. 

east of the village, and afar off to the north the 
Crooked Lake, stretching away and hiding itself 
among the highlands that surround it. All this I 
have looked upon more than once, while a pair of 
noble stag hounds were crouched at my feet, impa- 
tient for the chase. Turning from the pleasant 
landscape beneath me, I would strike into the 
woods. The forest extended back unbroken for 
mUes then, and when I had passed a short distance 
from the brow of the hill, I would lay on the dogs. 
Glad enough they would be for the freedom to hunt. 
Par off in the woods, perhaps, the voice of the 
staunch old hound would be heaxd, deep and long 
drawn out. After a moment it would be heard 
again. The interval between his baying would 
become shorter and shorter, until the voice of both 
dogs would break out in a fierce and continuous 
cry, and then I would know that the game was up 
and away. 

I need not tell you of the music there is in the 
voice of a pair of stag-hounds in the deep forests of 
a still morning. How it echoes among the moun- 
tains, and swells up from the valleys ; how it comes 
like a bugle from the forest dells, and glanciag away 
upwards, seems to fill the whole air with its joyous 
notes. Now the sound of the chase grows fainter 
and fainter, as it recedes, until it is lost in the dis- 
tance, and the low voice of the morning breeze, 
whispering among the forest trees, alone is heard. 
Again faint and fax off is heard the music of the 



Excitement of the Chase. 269 

chase, swelling up, and then dying away, like the 
sound of a fliite in the distance, when the night air 
is still — clearer and more distinct it comes as the 
dogs course over some distant ridge. Now it is 
loud and joyous, making the woods vocal with the 
melody of voices. Again the music dies away as 
the dogs plunge into some hollow way until it 
seems to come up like the faint voice of an echo 
from some leafy dell. Again it swells louder and 
fiercer, as the chase, changing its direction, sweeps 
up the valley towards you. Louder and louder 
groAVS the music. You hear the measured bounds 
of the deer as he goes crashing on his way to the 
river, fleeing from the destruction that is howhng 
on his trail. He passes beyond the range of your 
rifle, in his frightened course, and the dogs rush by 
you, running breast high on his track, and your 
Tally Ho ! gives fresh impulse to their speed, and 
a fiercer and more joyous strain to their music. 
You hear in the distance the sharp crack of a rifle, 
that comes echoing up firom the valley beneath you. 
In a few minutes the music of the hounds is still, 
and you know that your friend stationed at the river 
has secured his game. 

The public buildings and the best residences of 
Bath are fronting its beautiful square of some six or 
eight acres. In the centre of the square "long 
. ago," stood a taU pine that for years was known as 
the " liberty tree." It was left when the old forest 
was swept away, and stood there solitary and alone 



270 Country Eambles. 

for neaxly a quarter of a century. But it faded in 
seeming sorrow over the fate of its companions, tliat 
had been so ruthlessly destroyed. Its green branches 
died, one after another, till a bare trunk with leafless 
arms stretching out, as if in hopeless and barren 
desolation, was aU that was left of that once stately 
monarch of the woods. It was at last hurled to the 
earth by the strong winds, and the place of the 
"hberty tree" was vacant. 

I studied law in this pleasant village, under one 
whom I can never cease to respect. He resides 
here still, an honored, and justly honored citizen. 
A sore affliction has recently jarred among his heart- 
strings. May the wound that was inflicted be healed 
by the affectionate kindness of those that remain to 
comfort him, and may he find consolation in the 
memories that come up from the graves of the good, 
who pass away in the pride and strength of their 
early manhood. 

There are " solid men" in Bath, too, as well as 
in Canandaigua. Men who, by their indomitable 
energy, have risen from comparative poverty to 
great wealth. Who started in life with only strong 
hands and stout hearts, but who have mastered 
fortune. Men who are stiU in the vigor, the strong 
time of life, and who can reckon their dollars by 
hundreds of thousands. The old settlers, the pio- 
neers of Bath, axe all gone. Many of them I knew 
"long ago." The tombstones that stand in the 
quiet grave-yard, that record their virtues, bear no 



"Gentlemen of the Juey!"271 

lying epitaphs, nor lines of bitter irony respecting 
tlieir worth. 

I said I studied law in Bath. Let me relate an 
anecdote connected with the first suit I ever had the 
honor of appearing in as counsel. My friend, H. 
"W. EOGEBS, now of Buffalo, was my fellow-student 
then, and he will pardon me for relating the triumphs 
of the genius of two young men who were seeking 
distinction under some difficulties. A worthless 
scamp had been arrested for some misdemeanor — 
assault and battery, I believe — and being too poor 
to employ other counsel, apphed to my friend 
Rogers and myself to defend him, promising to 
pay us a small fee for assisting him in his trouble. 

"We readily undertook his defence, promising 
ourselves no light harvest of reputation from our 
first effort at forensic eloquence. A jury was sum- 
moned, and three magistrates sat in solemn judg- 
ment to hear the evidence against our unfortunate 
client. We had a day to prepare, and the speeches 
with which we intended to astonish the court, and 
confound the jury, were profoundly studied and 
reflected upon. Well, the evidence was closed, and, 
as was arranged beforehand, I rose to address the 
jury, and my friend was to follow. I got as far as 
" Gentlemen of the Jury," and there I stuck, hke a 
pig in the fence. Not another sentence of my great 
speech could I utter, to save me. At length, in 
despair, I told the jury, " that as I was to be fol- 
lowed by my elder and abler associate, I would oc- 



272 Country Eambles. 

cupy no more of their time," and sat down in 
perfect confasion and sbame. Friend Eogers then 
rose to deliver his maiden speech. He, too, got as 
far as " Gentlemen of the Jury," and there Ae stuck, 
as I had done before him. There was no use in 
trying to go on. The great speech was gone, not 
a word of it could he catch, not a sentence could 
he bring to mind. He was in a hopeless dilemma, 
but he extricated himself by saying to the jury 
that " the case had been so ably summed up by the 
counsel that had preceded him, that he felt it omne- 
cessary to add a word to the argument," and he sat 
down with the big drops standing on his forehead. 
We were laughed at some, by those who gathered 
to hear aur maiden efforts. The best of the joke 
was, that friend Haert was several years in find- 
ing out that he had perpetrated a good thing at 
my expense. 

There were formerly many excellent trout streams 
around Bath. Spalding's run, Neal's creek, the Camp- 
belltown creek, the Michigan creek, the Twelve-mile 
creek, and Townsend's run, and many other pleas- 
ant streams that came down from the hills were 
famous in their day. That was before sawmills 
and high dams, and the other utilitarian devices 
of civilization poisoned the waters, or the mul- 
titude of anglers had destroyed their speckled in- 
habitants. Just below Bath, within a mile of the 
village, is Lake Salubria, a beautiful little sheet of 
water of some two or three hundred acres. It has 



Beook Tbout. 273 

neither inlet nor outlet above ground, but its waters 
are clear and pure. I was one of three or four 
tbat "long ago" put a hundred or more brook trout 
that we caught in the Townsend run with a net, alive 
into this lake. I remember the day well. We rig- 
ged a half hogshead with water on a lumber wagon 
and started for the run. "We waded around in the 
water, and punching with long poles under the old 
logs and cavemed banks, and having secured over 
a hundred, started for home. The heavens gathered 
blackness, and one of the severest storms I have 
ever known overtook us. The lightning flashed 
and the thunders rolled through the heavens, and 
the rain came rushing from the clouds in a deluge 
upon us. My Panama hat hung like an elephant's 
ears about my shoulders, and my very boots were 
filled with the drenching rain. "We persevered, 
notwithstanding the storm, and got our himdred 
trout, all alive and active, into Lake Salubria. 
They did not, however, multiply as we hoped they 
would. For years one would hear occasionally of 
a great trout being caught in the lake, till at last 
they were all gone. They lacked the ripples and 
the running water. They lived to be old, and then 
died without progeny, "making no sign." 



I am at HomeUsviUe, where the Buffalo and 
New York Eailroad forms a junction with the 
12 



274 COUNTBY Eambles. 

New York and Erie, in the valley of the Canisteo. 
Steuben is my native county, and I am at home 
among its high hills and beautiful valleys. Thirty 
years ago this town was a hamlet. A store, a wood 
tavern, a dwelling house or two, made up the vil- 
lage, and a solitary stage coach bore the only visit- 
ors, and constituted the only means of conveyance 
to and from its sequestered location. In the winter 
an army of lumbermen swarmed in the forests 
around, and the sound of the axe and the crashing 
of the tall pines as they thundered to the ground, 
broke the frozen silence of the woods. When the 
spring freshets c£tme, the raftsmen started on their 
long journey down towards the Susquehanna, and 
away to the broad Chesapeake, and when they de* 
parted, HomeUsville was alone for the balance of 
the season. But now it has its brick blocks, its 
long streets, its taU steeples, its machine shops, its 
factories, and its mills, and the hum of business 
and the clank of machinery is everywhere heard. 
Long trains of cars, drawn by the iron horse, are 
rushing along almost hourly ; the old stage-coach, 
with its fat driver, is gone, and the sound of his 
horn will be heard there never again. Broadfarms 
are spread out in the valley, and the fields are 
creeping up the sides of the hUl. Blessings on the 
vaUey of the Canisteo ; blessings on the streams 
that come down from the mountains in which I 
have so often, in days that are past, angled for the 
speckled trout. Blessings on the pine-clad lulls 



A HtxKTiNO Anecdote. 275 

over wluch I have hunted the wild deer, and whose 
echoes I have so often wakened by the thrilling 
music of my hounds. Those brave old hills are 
here yet, covered with their summer fohage — defy- 
ing by their steepness the farmer's plough, and 
laughing at what here I call the desolation of civil- 
ization. Fields may be green in the valleys, and 
flocks and herds may eat lazily of the rich pastures, 
but the rugged sides of these hills will remain un- 
changed. The tall pines may fall victims to the 
lumberman's axe, but the sides of these hills as ■ 
they rise in steep acclivity towards the sky, will 
always, when the summer smiles, wear their gar- 
ments of green jn spite of human progress, and the 
wasting of the beauties of natural scenery that 
marks its career. Let me tell you a hunting anec- 
dote. I was, many years ago, on a hunting excur- 
sion with my old friend , Andrew Helmer (as 
staunch a woodman as ever "sighted a rifle") on 
the lulls that skirt this beautiful valley. We were 
driving the ridges,' as it is termed. From the log- 
way at the brow of the hill, down which the pine 
logs were rolledj a timber road ran straight back, 
into what was then a forest of many miles in ex- 
tent. In this road we stationed ourselves some 
sixty rods apart, but in plain sight of each other. 
There were two runways for the deer, one of which 
was beyond him and which he was to watch, and 
the other on the opposite side of me, which I was 
to take care of. Having taken our positions, a boy 



276 Country Eamblks. 

was sent into the woods to lay on the dogs. In a 
short time we heard the cry of the hounds — ^the 
game took a turn over a distant ridge — ^the hounds 
in hot pursuit — and their music was a pleasant 
thing to hear in that calm autumnal morning. In 
a short time the deer swept round the base of a 
hill, and instead of taking to the usual runway, 
dashed forward between Helmer and myself. The 
woods were thick, and we could only judge of his 
whereabouts, by his measured bounds and the crash 
of the brush, as he sped in his terror from the cry 
that was close behind him. I knew that he could 
be seen only as he crossed the timber road, and 
what was done for his destruction, must be done 
quickly. I stepped into the middle of the narrow 
road, and raised my rifle to my shoulder. As I 
did so, there stood Helmer with his rifle poised and 
pointed straight at me, and it seemed to me that I 
could look into the barrel, away down to the ball, 
which, if it should chance to miss the deer, would 
stand a smart chance of hitting me. I knew Hel- 
mer too well to doubt of his taking the chances of 
firing whether he hit me, or I hit him, or we both 
hit the deer. A large pine stood invitingly close 
by the road — ^I lost no time in getting behind it, 
but as the deer came crashing up to the road, I 
leaned out, and as he leaped across, fired and dodged 
back. Helmer's rifle answered to mine like an 
echo, and the deer fell in the edge of the brush, 
dead ; but one ball struck him, and that I claimed. 



Who Killed the Deer? 277 

Helmer claimed it as his, and though I never gave 
up the point, yet truth compels me to admit there 
were two slight circumstances in his favor. The 
baU-fiole was on his side of the deer, and we cut a rifle 
hulht from a tree, slightly out of range of the deer, 
and ffie side of that tree where we found the bullet was 
towards where I stood. 



II. 



NIAGABA — POSTAGE — ^WELLSVILLE — COUDEES- 
POBT. 

I AM here in siglit of old Niagara, and witMn the 
sound of its thnnderiag voice. I have never before 
seen this eichibition of grandeur spread out here, to 
humble the pride of man, and show forth the power 
and majesty of God. I look for the first time upon 
this stupendous panorama, so full of all that is grand 
and glorious, all that is beautitful and sublime. 
Here is the drainage of more than 150,000 square 
miles of the great lakes, those inland seas that lay 
out "West and North, the hundred rivers and streams 
that come into them from the hills and broad plains, 
and the thousand springs that bubble up away down 
in their silent depths — all these "mighty waters" 
are concentrated into a narrow gorge of less than 
half a nule in width, and, impelled by a resistless 
hand, they go boiling and heaving, roaring and 
struggling, like some gigantic monster in his wrath 
and agony, rushing forward in their matchless 
power, to plunge in wild fury down beetling cliffs 
into the retumless depths below. The voice of 



The Mighty .Cataract. 279 

the cataract is never silent. In summer and win- 
ter, in the brightness of noonday and the dark- 
ness of midnight, its roar is on the air. When 
the great flood subsided, from the time when the 
dove brought back the olive branch, and the raven 
went forth on his solitary and returnless flight — 
when the Ark rested on Ararat, it was heard, 
shaking the earth with its roar ; and the sound that 
then startled the wilderness will be heard tiU the 
crack of doom^-that mighty flood will roU on^ over 
the shelving rocks and down the stupendous pre- 
cipice, till the time appointed for the earth's destruc- 
tion shall come. I have stood on the brow of that 
precipice, and looked upon the rushing waters 
as they were hurled into the deep abyss ; I have 
stood at its base, and looked upward at the beetling 
cliffs, and seen that flood as it seemed to me rush- 
ing in appalling grandeur from the sky — around 
me was the mist and the spray, and arching above 
me was the rainbow, glowing in prismatic bright- 
ness, Kke that which spans the rear of the retiring 
storm. I have looked upon the cataract in the 
calmness of a clear night, and seen the stars as they 
stole out one after another from the deep vault of 
the sky, as if to watch its eternal flow. The voices 
that elsewhere break the stillness of nocturnal re- 
pose are here forever silent, as if awed by the sub- 
limity of its power. But one sound is heard, deep, 
solemn, and ceaseless — ^never changing, never losing 
its intensity. When the storm rages, it is heard 



280 Country Eambles. 

above the storm. When the winds rave and the 
tornado sweeps by, it is heard above the winds, and 
the wild fiiry of the tornado. "Es the voice of the 
Cataract I 

But who shall describe Niagara ? Let it flow on 
in its majesty, tUl man shaU conquer its fury, and 
make it subservient to his will ; tiU he shall " lay 
his hand upon its mane" and tame it into subjec- 
tion ; till human genius shall chaui it to the great 
water-wheel, and make it a motor to endless ma- 
chinery — ^grind com to satisfy human hunger, and 
throw the shuttle and spin. Unless some new dis- 
covery shall render valueless water-falls as motors, 
even Niagara will, in the course of human progress, 
one day be compelled to become utilitarian, and 
perform an active part in the great drama of life. 

There is one thing in regard to Niagara that 
strikes. It can have no rival. Saratoga may be- 
come antiquated — ^the sea-shore a resort only for 
invalids. Fashions may change in regard to pleas- 
ure resorts. Rival locations may compete by op- 
posing attractions. But Niagara can have no rival. 
The flood wfll sweep on over the precipice, the 
waters wiU boU and foam, they wfll straggle and 
heave down the rapids, rushing on forever, and the 
roar of the cataract will be there through all time. 
Its deep, thundering voice of power, will be heard 
in its solemn intensity ; its ceaseless sermon of the 
majesty, the omnipotence of God, wfll be preached 
while the waters flow, and stupendous precipices 



A Niagara in Miniatube. 281 

confine tliem witMn tlie changeless gorge. In all 
the world there is but one Niagaxa, and all the 
world will visit the mighty show. You may build 
up a city there, you may make long streets, and 
line them with houses, and crowd them with peo- 
ple ; you may rob it of its wild scenery, and strip 
it of the thiugs that nature spread out all around it, 
you may construct canals and erect machinery, but 
still the great cataract will be there, and the world 
will travel hundreds and thousands of miles to see 
it. They wiU go to the brow of the precipice to 
look down, and to the base of the precipice to look 
up. They will involve themselves in the mist and 
the spray for the sake of gazing upon the rainbow 
that is above them. They will ramble on Goat 
Island by moonlight listening to the roar of the 
waters, or enjoy its cool and pleasant shades at 
noon-day. You may roU your great water-wheels 
in their ceaseless rounds; you may harness your 
machinery and set your great hammers in motion ; 
your hundred strong hands may hurl the ponder- 
ous sledge against the ringing anvil ; you may set 
yo\ir ten thousand puny machinists at pounding the 
iron and driving the spikes, make aU the noise you 
can, and the roar of the cataract will drown it all. 



I am at Portage, and a wild place it is too — 
Niagara in minature. I am standing on the high 
12* 



282 COUNTHY EAMBLE3. 

bridge. A train of cars lias jiist mslied by me away 
up ia the sky, higber than the top of the tallest forest 
tree, two hundred and fifty feet above the surface 
of the water below. Think of a traia of cars thun- 
dering through the air, higher than the weathercock 
on the loftiest steeple, hurled forward at a speed of 
forty miles to the hour. It passes within six feet of 
me, there is a blast of wind, a rushing, roaring 
sound, and the train is gone — it vanishes around a 
point of the forest, and while I stand in mute aston- 
ishment, the snort of the iron horse is heard miles 
away. But the bridge remains firm; there is no 
swaying or i yielding; a slight tremor, and the deep 
rumble, is aU that tells you you are not on the solid 
ground. The genius of man has conquered the 
"great gulf" that iatervened between the per- 
pendicular precipices, and you pass in security over 
the mighty chasm, as on a level plain. Just below 
the bridge, the river leaps down a precipice of sixty 
feet. Further down, but in sight, it leaps down 
again some eighty feet; and lower stUl, it plunges 
again down a precipice of the same depth. You 
will remember that the surface above these falls is 
level. You look down from the bridge, and your 
companion in the gorge below looks like a boy, and 
you wonder why the lady that is on his arin is not 
in pantaletts and kilts ; that a child so small should 
dress like a woman, and carry a parasol, surprises 
you. Pass down to the lower falls, take your stand 
by a dwarfed cedar that grows out from the rocks 



A Great Lumbeb Eegion. 283 

and shoots upward, and. look over tlie cliff into tlie 
fearful depths below. You axe nearly five hxmdred 
feet above the level of the water, and there is nothing 
but air between you and the boiling stream. You 
can plunge down from that dizzy height, if you will, 
and rest in quiet beneath the wave. There will a 
voice whisper in your ear to take the fearful leap. 
Beware of the tempter and stand back, for there's a 
fascination in the whirling waters, and your brain 
may yield to its power. 

" Come on, sir, here's the place. Stand still — 
How fearful and dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low 
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air 
Show scarce so gross as beetles : half way down 
Hangs one that gathers samphire j dreadfol trade. 
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head. 
The fishermen that walk upon the beach 
Appear like mice. The murmuring surge. 
That on the unnumbered idle pebbles chafes, 
Oannot be heard so high. I'll look no more. 
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight 
Topple down headlong." 



I am at Wellsville, a village in Allegany county,, 
on the Erie Eailroad, and on the borders of the State 
of New York. It is situated on the Genesee river, 
which here is a comparatively small strearh. It is 
the lumber depot for a broad sweep of" country. 
Boards and plank are piled up here in vast quan- 
tities, waiting transportation to the east, and long 



284 Country Eambles. 

lines of teams are drawing more from the cotmtry 
beyond. I counted twelve loaded wagons pass the 
door of the public house where I am stopping, within 
half an hour. I have been here, too, years since, 
when there was not an acre cleared for imles below 
this, towards the north ; when it was all wilderness 
from a few miles south of Angelica, away to the 
southern and eastern slope of this portion of the 
Allegany moimtaios. I once came with a party of 
fishermen, among whom was Sammk Fitzhugh, 
Esq., of Livingston county, a man known for many 
years through all the Genesee country, for his social 
qualities, and his skiU and science as a sportsman. 
He has gone to his rest now. "We left Angelica on 
the occasion spoken of, and went up the Genesee to 
where Philipsbuxgh now stands. There was a dam 
there which had been constructed years before, in 
connection with which a mill and fulling Tnill had 
been built ; but the mill had been burned down, and 
the place deserted. There was no one living within 
several miles of it. We followed the river for some 
three or four miles abov& where WeUsviUe now 
stands, and then camped down for the night. In 
the morning we started down the stream again ; our 
object was in part to examine the timber land, which 
one of our party had bought, or was about buying, 
and in part to have a good time with the trout in 
the river. It was no trick, then, to take trout in 
the Genesee river weighing from a quarter of a 
pound to a pound and a half, beautiful yellow- 



Shbewd Tax Gathekers. 285 

finned fellows. The country was wild enough then ; 
I have never seen it since until now, and can hardly 
believe, as I look upon it, that it is the same locality 
that I saw then, covered with gigantic pine trees, 
and away beyond civilization. I have been won- 
dering, as I heard the cars passing, what we would 
have thought, as we lay in our blankets, sleeping 
on boughs that night that we " camped out," away 
off here iu the woods " long ago," had we heard the 
scream of the steam- whistle, and the roar of a train 
of cars coming thundering along the gorges of the 
mountains, as they now do, startling the sleeping 
echoes, and chasing slumber from our eyes. I've a 
notion we should have stared some. 



I am at Coudersport, the county seat of Potter 
county, in the State of Pennsylvania. I have crossed 
the high ridge that separates the waters of the 
Genesee from those of the Allegany. This is a 
sequestered little place, nestling among the hills, on 
one of the remote branches of the Allegany. The 
people here have a semi- weekly mail, and some of 
them take a weekly paper, but not many. They 
are engaged in building a very large court-house for 
so small a place, and upon inquiry I find it is built 
mainly by taxes levied upon the immense tracts of 
non-resident lands of the county. I say mainly by 
such taxes, because, although the tax purports to be 



286 GOUNTBY Eambles. 

general and equal upon all lands according to their 
value, yet a shrewd assessor, who knows the resi- 
dent from the non-resident owners, can so discrim- 
inate as to lay the burden upon the shoulders of 
those who own immense tracts and live at a distance. 
This, it strikes me, is no bad way of providing means 
to erect good public buildings, without burdening, 
to a very serious extent, those who are encounter- 
ing the difficulties incident to the settlement of a 
new country. 

We leave Coudersport en route for the Sinne- 
mahoning, a river that has its source in the same 
range of highlands with the Genesee and the Alle- 
gany. This ought, "upon principle," to be the 
highest land east of the Mississippi. It can be 
proved to be so by a very simple, and apparently 
conclusive course of argument. The Genesee river 
rises here, and flows off north to Lake Ontario, and 
so through the noble St. Lawrence to the ocean. 
The Allegany flows west and south, and is the re- 
motest eastern and northern branch of the Ohio, that 
finds its way to the ocean by the Gulf of Mexico, 
while the Sinnemahoning reaches " the great deep" 
through the Chesapeake Bay. But high as this region 
is — and it is high enough and cold enough for all 
practical purposes — ^it is by no means the highest 
region of the Alleganies. 



III. 

LAKE OHAMPLAIN. 

BURLINGTON — KEESEVILLE — ATT SABLE FORKS-^ 
FRANKLIN FALLS — SARANAO LAKE— ROUND LAKE 
— ,TUPPER LAKE — ^BOG RIVER — ON THE BANKS — 
THE BLACK FLY. 

I AM on the Ohamplain, in the steamer America. 
She is a staunch and beautiiul boat, under the 
command of Captains Flagg and Mayo, two as in- 
telligent and gentlemanly commanders as can be 
found on the .American waters — ^men who under- 
stand their business thoroughly, and whose atten- 
tion and politeness to their passengers are worthy 
of all imitation. This steamer is a most staunch 
one, furnished with great elegance and care, and 
she goes ploughing on her way with a steadiness 
and speed rarely equalled. I write this in a state- 
room, while the boat is in motion, and you may 
judge of the quiet way in which we move along. 

I have been for hours on the deck of the boat, 
■watching by the moonlight the changing scenery 
along the shore. On the one hand are the moiia- 
tains of Essex looming up dark and shadowy, their 



288 Country Eambles. 

bare heads glistening in tlie moonliglit, and tlie 
forests along their base and up their rugged sides 
resting in sombre blackness like a shroud, save 
where here and there some bluff and bare rock 
shines out midway up the mountain. Away off on 
the right are the Green Mountains, standing out in 
bold relief against the sky, upon which the starry 
covering appears to rest, or behind which it seems 
to hide itselfl Away off in front of the vessel are 
islands, seeming with their green trees like gigantic 
war vessels floating darkly on the Lake. While 
behind is a long stream of light, where the moon- 
beams are thrown back by the agitation of the wa- 
ters. By the way, why is it that nobody praises 
Champlain? Why have tourists neglected to chron- 
icle the charming scenery aroimd it ? To my no- 
tion, it is one of the most beautiful sheets of water 
in the world. 

There are a thousand romantic bays, that steal 
landward around jutting promontories, lying in 
the deep shadow-like entrances to immense caverns ; 
a hundred beautiful islands ; green fields stretching 
away to the base of the hills, tall precipices rising 
in ragged and beetling cliffs right up from the deep 
waters, upon the tops of which stand old primeval 
trees, like sentinels upon the battlements of some 
ancient castle. As we ploughed along in view of 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, the chimneys of the 
ruined fortifications stood up in solemn stillness, 
while Mount Defiance, on the top of which Bur- 



An Imaginaet Picture. 289 

goyne planted his cannon, looked grimly down upon 
the desolation and decay beneath it. Did yon ever 
tiy to call Tip the ghosts of the dead men whose 
names history has linked to the ruins upon which 
you may be looking, and locating them in imagina- 
tion, as history locates them — ^make them do again 
the deeds that gave them immortality? While I 
sat on the deck of the steamer as we passed the 
ruins on these points, I saw in imagination the little 
army of Ethan Allen, emerging from the forest on 
the Vermont side of the Lake ; I saw them crossing 
the narrow channel from point to point; not a word 
was spoken, not an oar splashed in the water, not a 
sound disturbed the stillness. I saw their muskets 
lowered, lest the sheen of the moonlight from their 
blight barrels or from their bayonets, might attract 
the notice of their enemies. I saw them as they 
landed noiselessly upon the beach and formed into 
columns for attack. I looked away to the fort. The 
ruins were gone. The fortification stood there in 
its strength. I saw the cannon as they were ranged 
along the top of the walls looking threateningly 
over the waters. I saw the sentinels as they march- 
ed back and forth, unsuspicious of danger. I read 
their thoughts as they tramped their lonely rounds. 
Their hearts were away across the ocean to their 
homes in their native land. Parents,' brothers, sis- 
ters, perchance their little children were about them, 
and I could see the tears gather in their eyes while 
memory was bringing loved faces around them. 



290 Country Eambles. 

Suddenly a tumult, a mid cry of alarm, a shout of 
triumpli broke the stillness of the night, as Allen 
and his sturdy followers came plunging over the 
walls into the very heart of the fort. Eesistance 
was in vain. The surprise was complete, and with 
the fixing of but foxir or five guns and the death of 
two soldiers the stronghold of the English was lost 
and won. I saw the astonished Briton when the 
surrender of his post was demanded in the name of 
the " Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." 
I saw him as he stood in his deshabille surrendering 
his sword to the conquerors, and the stars and 
stripes as they were run up to float in the night 
winds, and while the shout and hurrah of victory 
echoed among the mountains and went floating over 
the Lake, the vision melted away. The dead men 
went back to their graves, the ruins as they have 
stood for fifty years, battling with time, resumed 
their solemn shape, and desolation and decay again 
came over the place where brave men fought and 
bled and died. 



I am at Burlington, the largest and most flourish- 
ing town in Vermont. It is not a city. Vermont 
has but one city, and that of the smallest. This is 
her only port. She lays away from the Ocean, 
inland, and the Champlain, until recently, was her 
only outlet to the markets of the great cities. This 



Islands in the Lake. 291 

is a most beautiful town, situated on an elevated 
plain, overlooking the lake. From the CoUege 
green you look away over the water, on the one 
hand, and beautiftil raial scenery on the other. 
There are many pleasant situations, fine gardens, 
and splendid residences in Burlington ; and there 
are many " solid men" here, too ; solid in wealth, 
in business capacity, and in the hospitalities that 
adorn life. Looking out on the lake, you see many 
beautiful Islands, conspicuous among which is one 
on which stands the light-house, some three miles 
from the main shore. On the left of this, and mid- 
way between it and another beautiful Island, a soli- 
tary rock lifts its sharp head, some twenty-five feet 
from the surface, remaining there always, treeless 
and shrubless, all alone, throwing back the waves 
when the winds sweep over the waters, and move- 
less and solemn when the moon looks down on the 
still surface of the lake. Further off, still, are two 
small Islands, covered with tall trees, that seem to 
rise right up from the water. No brush, no water- 
grass, no sandy shore surround them; but they ap- 
pear to go straight up from the deep water, and in 
the distance, with a haze in the atmosphere, look 
like great war- vessels with a press of black canvass 
spread from invisible masts. Burlington is a busy 
place. I see far out on the lake two steamers, 
comiQg in opposite directions towards the docks, 
and I hear the roar of a steam-whistle off to the 
South, as a train of cars comes thundering iu from 



292 COUN-TRY Eambles. 

Boston, wliile another iron horse is rushing with a 
ponderous train from Rouse's Point. Here and 
there, all over the lake, as far as the eye can reach, 
are seen the white sails of smaller craft, moving in 
every direction; some up the lake, some down, 
and some beating across, all seeming bent on pro- 
gress towards or from a market. 

Burlington must be a most delightful summer 
residence. The air is so pure, so bracing, the drives 
so pleasant in every direction ; the scenery around 
so enchanting, that I wonder it is not preferred by 
everybody to the crowded and cramped-up places 
of fashionable resort. 

There is good lake fishing at Burlington. In 
the early morning before the sun had come up over 
the eastern hills, I went out with a boatman on the 
water; I saw the first rays of the morning as they 
lighted on the peaks of Essex. I saw them chase 
the shadow down the sides of the mountains, and 
I saw them when they first glanced across the sur- 
face of the lake, making it shine like molten silver 
as the fresh morning breeze swept over it. I hauled 
in some three or four noble fish on my way to the 
light-house Island, and as many more on my return, 
on a trolling line of three hundred feet in length. 
It was a glorious morning ; the breeze was so fresh 
and the air so bracing, that I was tempted to shout 
and hurrah with gladness, as I floated over the 
water. It made me young again. The spirit of 
boyhood came over me, and I felt as of old, before 



When I Gkt Eich. 293 

gray hairs had gathered upon my head, or stiffness 
had seized upon my joints. A beautiful and a 
pleasant town is Burlington. The lake that lays 
spread out before it is beautiful. Its mornings are 
glorious, its summer breezes bracing, exhilarating, 
healthful ; everything around it is beautiful, heavenly 
in the summer time, and between you and I when 
I become rich, I shall have a country seat some- 
where in the neighborhood of the College parks, 
with my fine horses and carriage, my boats on the 
lake, my rowers dressed after the latest sailor 
fashion, strong-armed, and skUful in the use of the 
oar. I shall have my trolling lines, and all the ap- 
paratus for fishing in perfection, and every morning 
while the last stars are shining dimly in the sky, 
struggling with the morning beams, while the gray- 
ness of twUight lingers in the valleys, I'U be out on 
the water, to welcome tjie rising day, and haul in 
the bass, the pike, and the pickerel. Towards even- 
ing, I'll ride round the country, and at night gather 
my friends around me and be jolly, (not with wine 
or strong drink. I have parted company with them.) 
Won't we, my friend, have a good time when I get 
rich? 



I am at KeeseviUe, a pleasant and thriving vil- 
lage, five miles from the Lake, on the Au Sable 
Kiver, Immense quantities of nails and bar-iron 
are made on this stream, at, and within a few miles 



294 CouN'TRY Rambles. 

of Keeseville. There is a capital water-power 
Here, which is fully occupied. The water-wheel 
travels its ceaseless rounds. The bellows are puff- 
ing, the fires are blazing, and the gigantic rollers 
are in motion. The nail-making machines are con- 
stantly at work, day and night — ^the clank of ma- 
chinery is mingling with the roar of the waters. It 
is a hot day, and great drops of sweat are chasing 
each other down the cheeks of the stalwart opera- 
tives, as they handle the blazing iron, drawing it at 
a white heat, sparkling and throwing off scintilla- 
tions from the furnaces, and passing it through the 
great rollers, or lifting the melted ore from its bed 
of fire, and placing it beneath the gigantic pressing 
machine which converts it into blooms. This opera- 
tion requires strength of muscle, as well as of con- 
stitution, and powers of endurance. It requires some 
skill, too, and a raw hand would make small pro- 
gress, till experience has taught him wisdom. 

It is a pleasant tldng to see one of these great 
workshops in the night time. The glare of the forges, 
tiie intense light of the chunks of iron as they came 
at a white heat from the blazing furnace, to see 
them pass through the immense rollers as they 
are formed into fitness for nail-making, coming out 
from the pressing machine longer and longer, in- 
creasing in length, stretching out and running along 
the floor like fiery serpents, while the stalwart oper- 
atives handle them with iron tongs, as if they were 
harmless things. 



A Wonderful Gohge. 295 

The Gorge is some two miles belo-w KeesevUle 
— one of the greatest ciiriosities of this country. 
The river goes roaring, and plunging, and cascad- 
iag, more than a mile, through a chasm some thirty 
feet wide, on either side of which the rocks rise ia 
|)erpendicular precipices from one to two hundred 
feet in height. On the top of these ledges you 
may stand, on the very verge of these great high 
walls, and look away down upon the boiling waters 
as they go surging and roaring on their way. This 
chasm does not seem to have been worn out by the 
river in its everlasting flow, but to have been made 
by the parting of the hills. The rocks on one side 
are counterparts of the rocks on the other, as if 
pulled apart. Rock matches rock, and shape is 
fitted to shape. An indentation on the one side, is 
matched by a prominence on the other, and you 
can see plainly that if the river could be withdrawn, 
and the chasm pressed together, the two sides 
would fit lik.e the halves of an apple that had 
been cleft by the blade of a knife. Above Keese- 
viUe are evidences that a lake once covered what is 
now a beautiful valley, stretching away for miles 
to the southwest, and through which the Au Sable 
now flows. Where now are rich farms, was once 
the bottom of this lake, and fishes sportfed above 
the fields that are now rich meadows, or covered 
with grain. Some mighty power, centuries upon 
centuries ago, struggling in the remote depths of 
the earth, upheaved these lulls, till the surface part- 



296 COUKTBY Eambles. 

ed, leaving this Gorge, through which the pent-up 
waters rushed, emptying the lake of its contents, 
and giving its foxmdations to the world as a place 
for man to beautify, over which the ploughshare 
should pass, and his flocks and herds feed. 

Some three miles west of Keeseville is Halleck's 
Hill, standing on which, and looking to the north, 
you see, not a rugged mountain scenery, where 
giant ranges stretch away, and tall peaks lift their 
bald heads to the clouds. There is no desolation, no 
wild and rocky sterility, but a beautiful, level plain, 
a valley reaching away for miles, rich in agricultu- 
ral products, and teeming with the evidences of 
wealth and civilization. Away off to the right is 
the ChamplaLa. The spires of Plattsburgh may be 
seen in the distance, seeming to rise like white pil- 
lars from the depths of a belt of forest, while in 
front of them can be viewed the spot where was 
fought the naval battle of Lake Champlain, in tha 
last war. The beautiful landscape before me is the 
valley of the little Au Sable. It was settled by 
Quakers, men of peace, who till the ground in 
quiet, and never go up to the wars with weapons 
of destruction in their hands. The spot where these 
peaceful people, startled by the booming cannon, 
went up and stood to view the conflict on the Lake, 
when McDoNOUGH and Downie fought against 
each other, is near me. These men of peace were 
patriots. They loved their country, and while 
from principle they refrained from the shedding of 



Beave Men are Sleeping. 297 

human blood, yet their hearts and their prayers 
were with their countrymen, against their country's 
foes. When the smoke of the battle floated away, 
and the triumph of American arms was manifest, 
there went up a shout of gladness, a loud hurrah 
from these honest Quakers, which showed that the 
"old man" was strong within them. 

In plain view from where I stand is the little 
Island on which the killed in that memorable battle 
were buried. There, in the midst of the lake, side 
by side in amity, rest the bones of those who strug- 
gled against each other on that day of mortal strife. 
Death is a queller of animosities, and the hands 
that struck at each other in life are quiet enough in 
the grave. Brave men are sleeping on that little 
island. It shoiild be regarded as consecrated ground, 
and a tall monument should be erected to their 
memory. It should be made to speak of the noble 
daring of the men who perilled and lost their lives 
for their country. There are no rich men btiried 
there. No titled men. They were the sailors, men 
who stood by the great guns, and whose breasts 
were bared to the foe. They were what the world 
calls common men, and who, had they survived 
the battle, would have lived and died without fame ; 
but they are just the men who win victories, and 
bring feme to commodores and generals, and upon 
whose bravery hangs the result of battles. Over 
these bones of these brave men buried here, these 
poor men, these sailors, these "common men," 
13 



298 Country Eambles. 

should be erected what will save them from dese- 
cration, and tell to the far-off generations how 
stoutly they fought, and how bravely they fell in 
the cause of their country. 



I am at the Au Sable Forks, a small town in 
extent but great in respect to the business done in 
the way of manufacturing iron.^ The Rogers' 
have their principal forges and nail factories here. 
Almost every man is an operative, or connected 
with the business of iron-making in some way. 
You meet the coal man with his face blackened by 
coal dust, and you meet the bloomer, (not those of 
the short gowns and pantaletts), but those who 
handle the blazing iron, covered with the dust and 
rust of the forge. You meet the teamster with his 
short pipe and California hat, and you adinire his 
independence as he sits upon his load of nails or 
blooms, or bars of iron, sending the smoke from 
his tobacco-pipe wreathing gracefully upward, and 
his voice has a cheerful ring as he cries " gee whoa" 
to his sober team. You meet the liunberman, with 
his bushy beard and long whiskers, with his axe on 
his shoulder, and his great boots on the outside of 
his pantaloons. He is just from the woods in the 
far interior, where he has been making war upon 
the pine forest trees, hurling them to the earth, 
shaping them into logs, and transporting them in 



On an Elevated Plain. 299 

rafts down tlie rivers and over the rapids and falls, 
to the mills. His labors are over until the fall 
snows come again. He will work in the harvest 
fields, or fish or hunt till then, when he will dive 
again into the forest, to winter ia his cold shantee, 
and make war on the old pine trees. Of these 
lumbermen's shantees I shall tell you more hereaf- 
ter. They are a great feature in the Chateaugay, 
the Saranac, and the Eaquette woods. You meet 
the miner, covered with the debris of the ore, 
among which he delves away down in the bowds 
of the earth; a man who spends twenty out of 
the twenty -four hours in darkness, either that of 
the night or that of the mines into which the day- 
light never looks. Everybody in this little town 
is busy. 

I am on the elevated plain between the Au Sable 
and the Saranac rivers. A broad sweep of country, 
bare of timber, yet without fields or houses. Here 
is a tract of thousands of acres, that of old was 
covered with great pine trees and other timber of a 
large growth. First the lumberman attacked and 
swept away the pines — then the charcoal men swept 
away the other large trees, and last of all the fire 
went rushing and roaring over this plain complet- 
ing the desolation, leaving blackness and utter life- 
lessness behind it. No living thing, whether ani- 
mal or vegetable, remained on its tract. The fire 
had extiaguished or driven them all away. An old 
resident told me of the " great burning," as he 



800 Country Rambles. 

termed it, of this plain. "It was," said he, "of a 
hot September morning, the wind blew fresh and 
strong from the west. Somehow the fire got out 
from the coal pits, on the western border of the plain, 
among the dry tree-tops and dead limbs, and brush, 
and spread out sideways, and every way for miles. 
By-and-bye as the wind rose to a gale, it started on 
its career across the plain. It was a glorious as 
well as a fearful sight, to see it leaping forward and 
upward, swirling and flashing onward, crackling 
and roaring like thunder, and sending the smoke 
in dark and dense columns, curling, and wreathing, 
and rolling towards the sky. The deer and other 
wild beasts fled wildly and madly before it, towards 
the mountains, or across the cleared fields of the 
valley. Fortunately there were no people inhabit- 
ing this plain, and the few that chanced to be along 
the road, fled to the settlement below. It was a 
grand sight that burning, a thing that is to be seen 
but once in a man's lifetime." 

The view from this plain is a magnificent one, if 
we regard as such only wild and desolate grandeur, 
where no sign of civilization crosses the vision. On 
the south and east, lofty peaks loom up towards the 
sky. The highest and boldest of them all, is the 
baldfaced mountain, the head of which stands glis- 
tening in the sunlight, like the white locks of some 
ancient giant. Away off beyond this, dim and 
hazy against the sky, are the peaks of the Adiron- 
dacks, Mount Marcy, and Mount Seward, the lofti- 



AFiBE IN THE Woods. 301 

est of tHese, while on every side, peaks of a lower 
stature, mountains of less notable height, bound the 
vision. It is a goodly thing to pause here of a clear 
morning, and look upon the things around you, 
standing as they do in everlasting silence just 
where God placed them, and no land mark of civil- 
ization, no cottage or field, to tell of the destruction 
to natural things, which marks human progress. I 
love these old mountain ranges, and the Lakes that 
lay sleeping under their shadows, and the streams 
that wind around their base. 



I am at Franklin Falls, a little village some eigh- 
teen miles from the Au Sable Forks. It is situ- 
ated on the Saxanao Eiver. There is a fall in this 
stream here, of some thirty feet, across which a dam 
has been thrown, and the water has been made to 
operate one of the largest and finest saw-nulls in 
the State, a miU capable of turning out some forty 
thousand feet of lumber per day. There is here a 
large tavern house for so small a place, which is 
well kept, a larger store, and a score or more small 
but neat cottages clustered around them. Two 
years ago the present summer, this little town, 
with the mill and everything in the shape of a 
building, every out-house, shed, and fence, was 
clean wiped out. A "fire in the woods" came 
sweeping down from the southwest, driven for- 



302 Country Eambles. 

ward by the gale, hurled onward by the strong 
winds in resistless fury. In an hour it had passed 
on, leaving in its track only smouldering ruins 
and the blackness of desolation. Every vestige of 
houses, nulls, great lumber piles, stables, bams, 
everything that would bum had been given to de- 
struction, and the villagers were grouped about 
congratulating each other on their own fortunate 
escape from a terrible fate. But enterprise has 
conquered the desolation, and a better null, a bet- 
ter store, better hotel and better houses, now stand 
where those that were swept away by the fire stood. 
These fires in the woods are fearful things in this 
section of the State. You will remember that this 
was, of old, a lumber region, or rather there were 
thousands and hundreds of thousands of pine trees 
scattered aU over the woods. These have been 
mostly chopped away, and their dead branches, 
dried tops and foliage, as they lay where they fell, 
make rich food for the flames. The foliage of the 
spruce and hemlock, green though it be, is com- 
bustible, and when a fire chances to get loose, and 
the winds are on the wing, the flames move for- 
ward with a speed and power which nothing can 
resist. I witnessed one of these fires in the woods 
years ago. It was in the night-time, and I was 
floating on the waters of Tupper's Lake. It came 
rushing and roaring around the base of a mountain, 
flashing and leaping upward and sideways, and 
every way, as the wind impelled it onward, or in 



A Country Tavkrn. 303 

gustful eddies laterally among the combustible 
materials in its reaclu For a few minutes it would 
dash forward before the wind, and then seem to 
pause as if for breath, the flames going straight up 
among the foliage of the fir-trees, like gigantic 
torches. Again it would leap forward as the wind 
returned, pushing the flames in long streams on- 
ward among the branches, like the fiery tongues of 
great serpents. The surface of the lake was lighted 
up like the day, and its waters was the barrier at 
last, against the progress of the fire. When it 
reached the lake, it died gradually away, and when 
I awoke in the morning, a track 'of blackness a 
quarter of a mile in width, trees standing up in 
charred and leafless desolation, and here and there 
smoking logs and chunks among which the burn- 
ing lingered, marked the track of this " fire in the 
woods." 



I am at the Saranac Lake, at the " Saranac 
House," kept for the accommodation of sportsmen 
in the summer, and lumbermen in the winter. 
This is a decent, respectable country tavern, standing 
literally at the end of the road, and kept by pleas- 
ant and obliging people. It is on a beautiful little 
bay, of some hundred acres, at the north end of 
the lake. All around are the old woods, the an- 
cient forest standing as it grew, and as it has stood 
for thousands of years. 



304 COUKTEY Eambles. 

The shores of this bay are bold and rocky, save 
a few acres at the head of it, where the inlet enters. 
Here the pond lilies spread their great round leaves 
over the surface, and the brilliant yellow and white 
blossoms shine out like stars of silver or gold, on 
the water. We arrived here a little after sundown, 
while the glad songs of the day were being hushed, 
and the night voices were coming abroad on the 
air. High above all was the music of the frogs, 
that was kept up all the long night, making the 
woods and lakes vocal with their deep sepulchral 
notes. By the way, I have seen frogs in my day, 
that might claim to be sizeable animals, but I have 
seen nowhere else this kind of amphibia at all com- 
parable in dimensions to those of the Lower Sar- 
anac. Great plump green fellows, that would weigh 
a pound or two, and thousands of them, having 
voices deeper and louder than that of the bassoon 
or the brazen serpent; and when they strike up to- 
gether, the whole air is fall of soimd. The leaves 
of the pond lilies are the largest I have ever seen, 
some of them being full a foot in diameter. On one 
of these great leaves, some patriarch frog will seat 
himself towards night, with his great round leaden 
eyes protruding from his head, his long limbs 
gathered under him, his wide mouth stretched in a 
changeless grimace, and as the twilight gathers, 
he win inflate his ponderous and pouched jaws like 
a bellows, and send forth sounds that would aston- 
ish the puny froglings of the marshes of the Hud- 



Music of thk Frogs. 305 

son. There is a peculiarity about tlie melody of 
the frogs here, that I never noticed before. For a 
little -while all mil be still, save the shrill note of 
the little peeper close along the shore. Then from 
his leaf, away out on the lake, some deep-mouthed 
croaker wHl bellow out, while from every direction, 
voice after voice will fall in, until as it were a solid 
roar fills the air. Gradually this wiU die away 
and for a minute or two all will be still, and this 
succession of sound and silence goes on until the 
sun lights up the day again. 

Directly opposite the Saranac House, and across 
a low ridge, through the forest a half mUe or more, 
is a little lake say of two thousand acres, which is 
a perfect gem. Its waters are clear and cold, the 
banks, save a little >patch at the south, bold and 
bluff, the hills rising gradually from the water's- 
edge, little bays stealing around and hiding behind 
rocky points, laying there in eternal shadow ; as a 
whole it is one of those beautiful little sheets of 
water, which is the more charming because the eye 
can take in at once all its delightful scenery. As 
we rowed around it, we saw on a natural meadow 
of some three or four acres, two noble deer feeding. 
We paddled silently to within eight or ten rods of 
them, when they seemed to scent us. They raised 
their heads and looked all around, but as we were 
perfectly moveless at, the time, they did not seem 
to notice us ; still, they were alarmed and uneasy, 
evidently satisfied that there was danger somcr 
13* 



306 Country Eambles. 

where. At length we rose up in the boat, and 
shouted, and it would have done you good to see 
how they hoisted their white flags, and with what 
prodigious bounds they went snorting and scamper- 
ing away. 



I am at Round Lake, ten miles from the Saranac 
House, on my way to the Eaquette River, Tupper's 
Lake, and the wild regions that lay around the 
sources of Bog River. We left Martin's this morn- 
ing, in a little water-craft, made of thin cedar boards, 
and which weighs perhaps a hundred and twenty 
pounds. This little boat, light as it seems, and 
tottlish and unsteady as it may be when unloaded, 
will carry four persons, and a reasonable amount of 
baggage, with perfect safety, over these beautiful 
waters. These rivers and lakes are the highways, 
the turnpikes, the railyoads of these high and wild 
regions, and these little boats are the carriages, the 
stage coaches, and the cars, in -vrhich everybody 
must travel. You start from the head of the Lower 
Saranac, and with a few carrying places, over 
which the sturdy boatman trudges with his boat on 
his back, you go a circle of a hundred miles in 
diameter ; you traverse the Lower Saranac, Round 
Lake and the Upper Sar^ac; you cross the 
*' Indian carrying place" of a nule, along a pleasant 
and beaten pq,th througli the woods. Then you 



An"^Involuntaey Plunge. 807 

launch again, on a series of ponds and down Stony 
Brook, to tlie Raquette Eiver, and then up or down 
that beautiful water-course, as your fancy dictates, 
to the lakes beyond ; you meet every little while a 
boatman, returning from a journey to the woods, 
alone or with passengers who have been on a sport- 
ing trip among the lakes and forest streams. The 
rowers rest a moment on their oars, kindly greet- 
ings are passed, news of the sports and from the 
outside world are exchanged, and each passes on 
his way. A turn in the river, or an island in the 
lake, hides him from your view, and you are alone 
again. 

While we were packing our traps in our boat at 
Martin's in the morning, an incident occurred which 
occasioned some amusement, at whose expense I 
will not now say. The shore where the boat was 
landed was bold, going down steep into the water. 
The bow of the little craft lay upon the bank, and 
the stern on the water some four feet in depth. The 
party were all in the house save one who stepped 
into the boat for the purpose of placing a small pail 
of butter under the stem seat. His weight tipped 
the bow clear of the land, and the boat started out 
on the water. Turning to see what the difficulty 
waSj'and forgetting for a moment the care neces- 
sary to steady the craft beneath him, he lost hia 
balance, the boat glided out from under him, and 
he went down like a great frog, head foremost into 
the water, and came up in five feet depth, wet as a 



808 CouNTEY Eambles. 

drowned rat. Fortunately the water was not cold, 
and what was better, nobody happened to see him 
as he crawled out upon the shore, every hair of his 
head and every thread of his garments dripping 
like an eave-trough. It was a goodly sight to see 
him there, shaking himself like a Newfoimdland 
water-dog, or standing up straight and stiff, to let 
the water run off from his saturated garments. 
When the discovery of the facts was made, a hearty 
laugh was indulged in at his expense, and coTintless 
were the jokes to which he was subjected. Do you 
ask who it was that took this involuntary plunge into 
the Saranac ? Sir, there are questions which people, 
though they possess all the knowledge necessary to 
the solution of them, do not like to answer, and this 
is one of them. All I choose to say is, he was a man 
of about five feet nine in height, somewhat rotund in 
shape, of fourteen stone and a little over in weight, 
and somewhat given to grayness about the head. 
Perhaps you may know him. If you do, you will 
confer a special favor on me by saying nothing 
about the matter. 



I am at Tupper's Lake, a sheet of water which 
I assert has no peer in beauty in this country. It 
is some ten miles in length, and varying from one 
to three miles in width. Its waters are pure and 
cold, though less transparent than some of the lakes 



EiCH Mines of Ieon. 309 

in this region. This is owing, prohably, to the iron 
ore, ■which doubtless underlays and which we know 
abounds around it. At the foot of the lake, a few 
rods from the bank, the ore crops out on the sur- 
face, and you can easily trace it from an eighth to 
a quarter of a mile. The ore appears to be very 
rich, and from the indications on the surface, exten- 
sive. I have no doubt that long years hence, may- 
be centuries, this and other rich mines of iron, 
known to exist in this now wild locality, will give 
employment to thousands of men, and send out 
their portion of metal to meet the immense and 
always growing demand for iron, required by the 
operations of civilization. The great features of 
Tupper's Lake, those which give it its principal 
charm, are its islands and bays. These are the 
most charming imaginable, always remembering 
that we leave out of view civilization, regarding 
only wildness, solitude, and primitive grandeur. 
These bays stealing around behind jutting and 
craggy promontories, winding away in the deep 
shadow of forest and moimtain, they lay there uut 
rippled almost by a breeze, always. Floating into 
one of these, you are hid from a view of the lake ; 
above you is only the sky, while the tall trees, and 
hills that surround them, limit the vision, as though 
you were in the bottom of a great bowl, and could 
look only upward. The islands are of various size 
and appearance. Here a bare rock, an immense 
boulder, lifts its brown and moss-covered head, 



310 Country Rambles. 

riglit up from tlie deep water, standing all solitary 
and alone, with no tree, shrub, grass or vegetable 
thing growing upon it. There one,, maybe, of a 
few rods only in circumference, covered with fir 
trees and pines, standing clothed in everlasting 
green^ with no rocks visible to the eye. Then again, 
there are others containing maybe hundreds of 
acres, covered with timber, among which great 
boidders, larger than haystacks, stand, with here 
and there precipices rising straight up, fifty or sixty 
feet, gray and gloomy, while occasionally a bare 
ropky peak rises above even the tree-tops. As you 
float by one of these islands, and see the great 
boulders, the walls, and rocky peaks, struggling as 
it were for mastery with the forest. growth above 
and around them, you can hardly divest yourself of 
the idea that you are looking upon some gigantic 
ruins of the olden times. The crumbling walls, the 
decaying and deserted battlements of ancient castles, 
and strongholds built by people of a rude and 
vanished age, when physical force, and strong arms, 
conquest and j5lunder, were the great landmarks of 
the times. You can almost mark the spot where 
the lofty towers stood, where the ponderous gates 
swung upon massive hinges; where were draw- 
bridge and moat, and you think how impregnable 
the sturdy old Baronet was in his stronghold 
against everything but Time. And then you 
think how that same Time demolishes the strongest 
and proudest works of man, how it topples down 



The Two Settlees. 311 

castle and hold, lio-w it sweeps away at last, by its 
strong, slow, but sure process, the most massive 
works of human energy. 

There are two settlers on the shores of this lake ; 
the one at the outlet, and the other near the head of 
the lake. The first, a fisherman and hunter, who 
has some two or three acres cleared, raising simply 
vegetables for his family, taking the world easy, as 
most frontier men do, seldom sweating from hard 
labor, or tired by real work. The other is a lum- 
berman, energetic and industrious, has small taste 
for hunting or fishing, or any of the wild sports of 
the forest or lake. He has some forty acres cleared, 
a good log-house for his family, and another of 
larger dimensions, fitted up with tiers of berths all 
around, like the cabins of the large steamboats, but 
not by any means with the same degree of elegance. 
Here, during the Winter months, and until late in 
the Spring, an army of lumbermen congregate, oc- 
cupying this as their sleeping apartment, and board' 
ing with the hardy settler in this wildemess. This 
family is eight miles from a neighbor, some fifty 
miles from a doctor, the same distance from a church 
or school-house, and you will readily see that what- 
ever pleasure there may be in isolation, they enjoy 
it to the fail. Speaking of school'houses reminds 
me of a matter that I omitted to mention in a former 
letter, a thing that I " booked for discussion" on my 
way, but forgot to mention it in its proper place. 

Between the Au Sable Forks and Franklin 



312 CouNTEY Eambles. 

Falls, as I said to you, is a higli region of country, 
cold and uninviting for agricultural purposes, deso- 
late by nature as a place of residence, but covered 
•vvith a large growtii of timber. This timber is a 
mine of wealtli to tlie manufacturers of iron, fur- 
nishing tbem witli cbarcoal for their furnaces and 
forges. Occasionally you come to a city, almost, of 
coal-pits. Hundreds upon hundreds of them clus- 
tered around. Some smoking in the slow progress 
of combustion, some just covered, and some just 
being piled ready for covering, and some already 
burned, from which sooty, and charred men, I had 
almost said, are raking away the coals, and load- 
ing them for the forges. As a matter of fact, it re- 
quires people, to chop the wood, build and bum the 
pits, and carry away the coals ; and they are to be 
found in plenty, in log-houses along the road. ^ As 
a corollary from these facts, it follows that children 
will be born to them. And you will see the sturdy, 
knotty, and hardy-looking little wilderness-bom 
chaps, swarming in what you and I might consider 
inverse ratio, so far as numbers are concerned, to 
any apparent necessity for their presence, or provis- 
ion for their support. Now, in this country, as a 
general thing, wherever you find a dozen children, 
you will find a school-mistress and a school-house. 
These three institutions seem to be inseparable, 
growing along up together, and it is a glorious 
thing that it should be so. It develops the native 
energy of the American character, and brings forth 



"Seminary of Leabninq." 313 

its inward miglit. Well, some tliree or four miles 
south of Franklin Falls, in the " coal formation," 
as geologists -would say, stood a log-house. There 
were some fifteen or t\v;enty barefooted, healthy-look- 
ing boys and girls, playing and scampering, and 
shouting around the door, and I wondered at the 
evidences of a prolific reproductiveness, which seem- 
ed to characterize whoever inhabited it. WhUe 
we were some distance from it, however, I heard 
a loud rapping on the window-sash, and the little 
ones disappeared with a rush into the house. 
That sound was too fall of old memories, recollec- 
tions of long ago, not to explain the problem that 
had puzzled me. That log-house standing there 
all alone in that little clearing, was a school-house, 
a " seminary of learning," a small branch of a great 
system, that has thrown and is throwing this coun- 
try forward, with a rush of progress such as finds 
no parallel in the world's history. As we passed it, 
the door stood open, and I took an observation of 
the inmates. There was the plain but neatly dress- 
ed mistress, with her clean calico dress and black 
apron, her white neckerchief over her shoulders, 
and crossed gracefully over her bosom; her hair 
combed modestly and smoothly from her forehead, 
and fastened in a knot on the back of her head, 
standing with book in hand, and a class of little 
girls before her, about hearing them read. One 
chubby little fellow, of say eight or nine years of 
age, was standing by himself in the middle of the 



314 Country Eambles. 

floor, with a paper cap on his head, his pantaloons 
rolled half-way to his knees, his legs and feet bare, 
and the fore finger of his right hand in his mouth, 
and his face down in a ludicrous-sheepish, and 
shame-faced fashion. There was no mistaking his 
position. He was undergoing punishment for some 
sin against the laws of the school, demonstrating 
the great truth that reaches all the way from the 
cradle to the grave, that the way of the transgressor 
is hard. There was something so old-fashioned, so 
familiar to me in all this, that I was tempted to 
laugh and cry at the same time, as the present and 
past stood out so palpably before me. 

Do not think me capable of ridiculing these prim- 
itive people, or primitive schools. They are too 
important, too essential to the prosperity and prog- 
ress of this country, in my estimation, for that. I 
remember with feelings of profound veneration the 
log school-house of my own boyhood days. It was 
the foundation of the small progress I have made in 
life. The teachings begun in these log school-houses 
have given direction to, and roused the latent ener- 
gies of many a great and good man of our country, 
whose names have passed into the history of these 
States, who will live in the world's memory when 
thousands of graduates of the Colleges and Uni- 
versities will have perished. Blessings on that 
log school-house in the Saranac "Woods, on its school- 
mistress, and the little children, whose "young 
ideas" she was teaching "how to shoot" 



Deep Fishing. 315 

We leave Tapper's Lake by a direct road to 
go up the Bog Eiver, to tlie ponds and lakes to- 
wards its source. There are beautiful trout in this 
lake, and abundance of them. "We did not care to 
take them, for we could not get them out to the set- 
tlements, and we had more of the brook and river 
trout than we knew what to do with. "We saw 
some taken by the settler at the lower end of the 
lake, weighing from eight to twelve pounds. These 
he salts for winter use, though he can take them at 
all times. The trolling > season is nearly over, and 
but few can now be taken in that way. They 
are caught now by what is called deep fishing. 
Buoys are made in water from fifty to one hundred 
feet in depth, where the fish are baited. Long 
strips of bark are peeled and tied together, to make 
a sort of cable, to one end of which a stone is fast- 
ened as an anchor, and at the other a piece of light 
wood is made fast, and left to float on the water. 
About this, chub, shiners, and suckers, cut into 
small pieces, are thrown for a day or two, and then 
the fisherman goes out in his boat, fastens to his 
buoy, drops his long line and great hook, baited 
with a mianow, and naturally draws in the six, 
eight, and ten pounders, that have been fettening on 
the fish he has been furnishing them. 



I am at the upper falls of Bog Eiver. This large 
stream, but small river, forms the inlet to Tapper's 



316 Country Eambles. 

Lake, and comes down from a plateau some sixty 
feet above it, in three cascades over shelving rocks, 
of about twenty feet each, and shoots off in a powerful 
current far out into the lake. Across this current, 
where it enters the lake, and in the eddies formed 
by it, are great places to throw for the river trout. 
They may be caught in great quantities and of a 
large size, and their play is beautiful. They are, 
however, at this time, caught both larger, and if 
possible faster, by trolling, with a minnow for bait, 
back and forth, a few rods from the shore, across 
the current. Beautiful yellow or orange-bellied fel- 
lows, of from one to three pounds in weight, and 
their activity and strength is exceedingly exciting 
to those who have a taste for that method of taking 
them. For myself, I love the fly or grasshopper, 
or even the vulgar angle-worm, best ; and when I 
can use thera, neither deep fishing for ten-pounders, 
nor trolling, will tempt me to forsake them. 

Our boatmen carried our boat and what a Hoosier 
would call our plunder, from the lake, a few rods 
up a steep ascent, and launched it on the river, above 
the falls. For some three or four miles above, the 
river flows in a deep and tortuous channel, witb but 
a light current. We then entered a region of boul- 
ders, lying in mid-channel, around which the cur- 
rents wound, and went twisting and eddying away. 
Here I threw my fly, by way of experiment, and 
found the trout abundant. Some half a mile further 
on, we came to a rapid, half a mile in extent, around 



The Kapids. 317 

wluch the boat liad to be carried. And I may say 
liere, that during the day we encountered nine 
rapids, of greater or less extent, around which 
our little vessel had to be transported. These 
carrying places where, however, short, and aa we 
had two boatmen, occasioned but little trouble or 
delay, and afforded rather a relief from the fixed 
posture which we had to assume in the boat. 
There has been a vast amount of lumbering done 
on and in the neighborhood of this stream the last 
winter. Twenty thousand logs have floated down 
it, to the lake below, during the Spring freshets, 
and there are a vast many lying scattered along 
the banks, which must await the Spring freshets of 
next year. On each of the falls (and there are seven 
of them) dams have been built, to hold back the 
water, until all is ready, when the flood-gates are 
opened, and the mighty rush of waters carries every- 
thing before it. "We could see the mark of the flood, 
six or eight feet above the present level, on the trees 
along the bank, and the water is yet greatly above 
low- water mark. I can imagine with what tremen- 
dous force the river goes thundering through the nar- 
row gorges, and down the rocks among the great 
boulders fixed as moimtains in the channel ; and the 
wonder is, how even the great logs can withstand 
its mighty power, and not be splintered into shreds, 
among the gigantic obstructions against which they 
are hurled. The shanties of .the lumbermen are 
seen every few miles along the banks, and they con- 



318 COUNTEY Eambles. 

stitutc a great feature of this region. They are built 
of long logs, covered with shingles split from the 
pines and spruce. Tiers of berths axe built one 
above another, on each side, and across the ends, 
save where you enter the door. In the centre is a 
rude fire-place of stone, but without a chimney, 
while a hole in the roof is left for the escape of the 
smoke. In some of them are immense cooking 
stoves, instead of fireplaces. 

The bed of the hardy lumbermen was of hemlock, 
or spruce boughs, or of hay or straw, and here they 
managed to live comfortably, according to their 
notions, through the cold winters, though the clull 
winds whistled through a hundred openings, and the 
snow drifted in through the crevices. These shan- 
ties are deserted now, and they stand there tenant- 
less, with most of the tools remaining which were 
used by the lumbermen during the winter. These 
tools are entirely safe from plunderers, for there is 
a sort of faith among woodmen, that is a surer pro- 
tection than bolts and bars. "We entered one of 
these shantees, the door of which was on the latch. 
There, in the centre, stood a great stove, with the 
utensils for cooking upon and around it. In one 
comer was piled up axes, crowbars, log chains, iron 
dogs. On a shelf was a cask of vinegar, and an- 
other that smelled mightily like whiskey, a great pile 
of codfish, and bread hard and dry enough to an- 
swer for cannon balls, pewter dishes, knives and 
forks, selected for strength rather than elegance, 



An Eccentric Habit. 319 

and on a little shelf in tlie corner, a pack of cards, 
so soiled and greasy, that one could safely bet they 
had been through ten thousand games of "Old 
Sledge." The whiskey and the cards brought out 
a strong characteristic of the lumbermen of these 
woods in bold relief, while the hundred black stubs 
of pipes, and the codfish, added a sort of comment- 
ary to the card and whiskey text. And yet, prob- 
ably there was neither a confirmed drunkard nor 
a gambler among them all. They drank whiskey 
upon principle, and played cards, and smoked, and 
eat codfish by way of giving relish to the " rye." I 
remember an eccentric old gentleman, who was a 
member of the Legislature for two or three sessions 
some years ago, from one of the down-river counties. 
He was a jolly, pleasant, companionable, and withal, 
an intelligent man — but he had three weaknesses in 
rather a remarkable degree. These weaknesses 
were a game of whist, a gin sling, and a cigar. He 
could indulge in his favorite game from eve till 
dawn, provided the gin was good, and the cigars aU 
right. He would play, and drink, and smoke with 
a zest that defied weariness or desire for sleep, and 
yet he was never intoxicated, and never staked a 
cent on the cards. He claimed to be a temperate 
man, and was principled against drunkenness and 
gambling. He would, however, stow away more gin, 
and smoke more cigars of a night, and go to bed 
soberer, than any two men I ever happened to know. 
He used to say he loved to drink because it made 



320 Country Eambles. 

him relisli a cigar so, and lie loved to smoke because 
it made him so dry. It is, doubtless, so with the 
lumbermen of this region. They like to drink, be- 
cause it makes them relish their pipes, and they like 
to smoke, because it makes them so dry. 

We have mastered all the rapids and falls, and 
are now in smooth water, and shall be until we 
. reach a series of nameless ponds, lying between us 
and Mud Lake. We have seen several deer on the 
route thus far, since we left Tupper's Lake, but 
there are no grasses or food for them along the 
river, and our meeting with them has been entirely 
accidental. It is said we are now entering upon a 
portion of the river that affords abundance of pas- 
ture for them, and that we shall have a sight at a 
great many on our passage up. 



I am on the banks of one of the small lakes, 
the outlet of which goes to help to make up Bog 
Eiver. These ponds or little lakes are without 
names, so far as I can learn. They have some, but 
not all of the beauties of the waters further north. 
They are in part bordered by marshes, and they 
lack the bold and striking outline of rocky bluff and. 
hillside, nor have they the charming bays that steal 
around, as it were, from the broad lake, to sleep 
in the shadow of the forest trees. We are very- 
near the "top of the house" here, an^ though we 



The Astonished Buck, 821 

can see in the distance mountain peaks going up 
towards the sky, yet there are no ranges, no high- 
lands, as distinguished from these peaks in sight. 
We must now be some four or five hundred feet 
above Tupper's Lake, and a single rise of some fifty 
feet in all, around roaring rapids, will bring us to 
the upper level, beyond which there is in this direc- 
tion no higher plain, no more elevated river or 
lake. 

After leaving the upper falls, the river flowed 
with a sluggish current through broad marshes, 
where the wild grasses skirted the shore, and the 
broad leaves of the pond lilies covered the water. 
"We saw abundance of deer feeding upon these 
aquatic pastures. I was exceedingly amused by 
one of these animals, a noble buck. In many 
places the channel is narrow, and exceedingly 
crooked, turning suddenly around wooded points. 
Soon after leaving the upper falls, the oars were 
unshipped, and the paddles only used, that when 
we came upon these deer pastures, we might not 
frighten the animals by the noise of rowing. As 
we rounded noiselessly one of these short elbows, 
we came suddenly upon a large deer, that was feed- 
ing only some four or five rods from us. He was 
standing with his nose and a part of his head, in- 
cluding his eyes, for the moment imder water, 
apparently trying to loosen the stem of a pond lily 
from the bottom, the water being a foot or more in 
depth. These stems are of the same pithy and 
14 



322 Country K ambles. 

fibrous character as a cabbage stalk, rough and 
knotty like it, and when loosened at the roots, will 
float on the water. The deer are fond of these 
Hly stalks, and you will see fragments of half-eaten 
stems floating in the ponds and eddies where they 
grow. We were perfectly silent and motionless, as 
we saw him feeding so near us ; not a hand was 
moved. He raised his head carelessly from the 
water, and as his eye fell upon us, he straightened 
himself up, then throwing forward his ears, looked 
in utter astonishment upon us, as if saying to him- 
self, " What, in the name of all that is wonderful, 
is that ?" Presently he hoisted his tail, snorted in 
amazement, and trotted a few rods towards the 
shore, looking with arched neck at us over his 
shoulder. Still, as we did not move, his curiosity 
seemed to overcome his terror, and he stopped, and 
turning towards us, stood gazing with a peculiar 
intensity of look at us. He would stamp with his 
foot, and whistle, as if to arouse us from our fixed 
and motionless attitude, if we were living things. 
Presently we swung our hats and shouted, and he 
was off like the wind. The discharge of my rifle, 
and the whistling of the ball near him, added vigor 
to his terror, and new wings to his flight, and he 
plunged madly into the thick brush along the mar- 
gin of the river, and went crashing and snorting up 
the mountain. 



The Slumbers 6f Night. 823 

I am now on the banks of a small lake, the prin- 
cipal source of the west branch of Bog Eiver. "We 
are shanteeing here in the old woods, in a house 
made of bark peeled from the trees around us, com- 
posed of a single room, with the whole gable end 
for a door, and just large enough to accommodate 
two men if disposed of horizontally, and laid along 
lengthwise on a bed of boughs rolled up like sacks 
of potatoes in their blankets. Before it are blazing 
logs, for the nights are cool, and were it not so, the 
smoke and the flame are needed to keep off the 
mosquitoes, that in these woods and around these 
lakes have each a proboscis that an elephant might 
envy, and they have a mighty insinuating way 
with them too. Our boatmen lay wrapped in their 
blankets in the open air, with their feet to fire 
and their heads resting on blocks of wood for a 
pillow, and it woidd do you good to see how 
soundly they sleep and to hear them snore. From 
out in the forest comes the solemn hooting of the 
owl, and the wild voice of some solitary night bird 
floats upon the ear, while at long intervals the clar- 
ion voice of the loon comes clear and musical from 
the lake. The hoarse and guttural bass of the 
frogs comes roaring deep, sonorous and solemn, 
from among the pond lilies that grow along the 
shore, and yet with all these noises sounding on the 
ear, you feel an impression of silence, and you are 
soothed into a desire for repose. "With the air foil 
of noises, you sink away into slumber, and in the 



324 Country Eambles. 

morning awake fully refrested, tte weariness of 
the previous day all gone, and you feel a degree of 
buoyancy of spirit and limb, whicli no night's rest 
in the city can give you. 

The pure bracing air of this high region has an 
effect upon the system which it is impossible to 
describe. Such at least is its effect upon me. You 
feel as you inhale it in the morning, an exhilaration, 
a hilarity that tempts you to shout aloud, hurrah, 
sing, and be jolly as everything around you seems 
to be. I have seen people while under the influ- 
ence of Champagne, cut strange capers, and perform 
most ridiculous antics, and the mountain air of 
these wild regions so pure, so bracing, so full of 
freshness, so dehoiously sweet, that though rigid in 
your observance of the temperance creed, you be- 
come almost drunken with excitement, as if you 
had been worshipping at the shrine of Bacchus. 

We saw a great many deer yesterday, caught all 
the trout we wanted, and we can see the deer this 
morning feeding on the shore over and across the 
lake. We intended to stay a week in this region, 
laying around in a loose promiscuous way, fishing 
as we needed the trout, and knocking over a deer 
when we needed venison, telling stories,, and hear- 
ing them told, of life in the woods, indidging in 
fact or fiction, in fact, being joUy in a natural way 
outside of civilization, away from books and news- 
papers, away from highways and the thoroughfares 
of life, away from the thunders of railroads and 



A Fellow Spobtsman. 325 

the roar of the steam whistle, outside of paved 
streets, outside of green fields, and outside of the 
fences, untrammeled by the conventional proprieties 
of Hfe, to be wild men in feet away off in the old 
woods, renouncing for a time the guardianship of 
the laws, the companionship of the world, alone 
with nature and the wild things with which God 
has peopled the forests, the lakes and streams. I 
have thus far written only in the singular number, 
and have in this, as it strikes me now for the first 
time, done wrong. There is with me an intelligent 
gentleman, who is a keen sportsman, one who rel- 
ishes a tramp in the woods, who loves to throw the 
fly, and be among the deer, to hear the forest 
sounds, and look upon the wild scenery of nature, 
as much as I do myself; and I have been indebted 
to him, all the way, for pleasant conversation and 
"interesting debate" on many subjects besides 
woodcraft. His skill in all that pertains to the 
sports of the wilderness, is quite equal to my 
own. I may as well say here, that I do not excel 
in any branch of woodcraft. I can throw the 
fly with only a medium skfll, and am not re- 
markably successful with a baited hook. I 
am no great shot with the rifle. What I 
love most is to float along the romantic shores of 
these secluded lakes, to glide iato their shadowy 
bays, be rowed down or up the secluded little 
rivers that have flowed here in everlasting solitude 
through . the old forests, and around the base of 



326 Country Eambles. 

these mountains. I love to commune witli the 
primeval things all aroimd me, to go back in imag- 
ination, to the time when this vast Continent was 
one great wilderness, hid away here across oceans 
by the Creator, given to the possession of wild men 
and wild things, tiU in his own good time he should 
open it up to the knowledge of the world, making 
it the field of a regenerated and renewed civiliza- 
tion ; where the great principles of human freedom 
could be planted in a virgin soil, and man's capa- 
bility for progress be fiiUy developed. This must 
have been a glorious hunting ground for the Indian, 
and admirable residences, too, for his brother the 
beaver. There was no need of these latter building 
dams to accommodate themselves with still water. 
The lakes and ponds spread all over the country, 
were prepared for them; and when they and the 
wild men of the woods lived in amity, before the 
greed of the white man had set a value upon their 
fur, and tempted the cupidity of the Indian to con- 
trive their slaughter, the beaver must have had a 
good time of it here among these waters. And 
yet these industrious and provident animals were 
not entirely satisfied with the natural ponds and 
lakes alone. There are occasional localities pointed 
out along the streams where there are unmistakable 
evidences stiQ existing that they had in the olden 
times their dams. There are, too, water-ways, 
narrow channels across low marshy grounds, from 
one pond to another, that are called by the wood- 



Beaver Canals. 327 

men "Beaver Canals," wMch, it is said, are the 
works of the beaver. These " Canals " are some 
three or four feet wide, the water with scarcely a 
perceptible current, and in some none at all, wind- 
ing across the marshes, skirted by tall grass or flags, 
and you feel almost certain that they are not natural 
water-courses. You can easily persuade yourself 
that they are the work of art, have been excavated 
for the purpose of opening a convenient passage 
way, and the many muskrats that are seen con- 
stantly swimming to and fro in them prove that 
they are still regarded as highways of travel. There 
is one across a neck of land on the Eacquette River, 
just above a noted locality known as the " drift- 
wood." This " Canal " is some quarter of a mile 
in length, leading from the river to a body of 
water containing probably three thousand acres, 
known as Isham's Pond. This pond connects with 
and is on the same level with the river, and the 
" Canal " across the Isthmus saves a journey of 
some four or five miles round. It is from four to 
six or eight feet in width, through a dense forest of 
lowland timber. The water is about two feet in 
depth, though the excavation, if excavation it be, is 
from four to six feet in depth. "We passed through 
this canal with our boat. There was scarcely a 
perceptible current. Whether it is the work of the 
beaver, hundreds of years ago, or a natural canal, I 
do not undertake to say, but to me it appeared like 
an artificial channel, made for convenience of com- 



328 Country Eambles. 

munication between the river and pond, and our 
boatmen seemed to liave no doubt on the subject. 

I have thus far given you the romance of a 
journey into these woods, the sports that abound 
here, the abundance of trout and deer, the beauty 
of the lakes and rivers, the romantic and wild 
scenery which you will find spread out all arotmd 
you. It is, in sober truth, a charming region to 
visit, for the purpose of whiling away a fortnight or 
a month. But — and what a pity it is that this 
disjunctive should always steal in, standing forever 
in the way of fulness of enjoyment, obstructing our 
pleasures, and casting a shadow on what should be 
all brightness, all sunlight, all glory. Yet so it is, 
there is a BUT in this case, and at this season of the 
year, during the month of June, the freshest, green- 
est, brightest, loveliest, most glorious of all the 
months, when the birds are merriest, the forest 
foliage most beautiful, the air balmiest, and all 
nature is clothed in its gayest garments, decked 
with its sweetest smiles, the black fly greedy for 
blood, hungry, relentless in cruelty, swarm in mill- 
ions around you, and spite of your most active 
exertions, your most ingenious devices subject you, 
especially if your skin is thinner than that of the 
rhinoceros, to a protracted torment, to which cruci- 
fixion would almost seem a positive pleasure. I 
am a reasonably courageous and persevering man 
in purstiit of pleasure in the woods. I can bear a 
great deal of positive hardship, labor, for which, 



The Saranac "Woods. 329 

were it encouiitered for Mre, a very large "pile" 
■would have to be paid. I have before now been 
hungry and cold, I have fought the musquito and 
the midget, been outia the rain and the chill windsi 
in pursuit of game. I have tramped in hot days 
long miles over mountains, stumbling over boulders 
and among tangle-brush, weary and dripping with 
perspiration. I have encountered the black fly 
before in these same woods and in the same beau- 
tifiil month of June without a thought of surren- 
dering, but I never, and the oldest hunter of these 
woods never encountered them in such myriads, 
absolute swarms, as they have appeared the present 
season. I have been compelled to surrender, ac- 
knowledge myself vanquished. I said we intended to 
stay here a week. We came here last evening and 
we start for home this morrdng, absolutely driven 
from the woods by the BLACK FLY, a little insect 
not larger than the head of a pin, but with teeth 
hke a tiger's. If I live to get out to the settlements; 
a problem the solution of which the next two days 
will solve, if there is enough of me left to make it 
an object worth preserving, I'U tell you in my next 
all about it. If I should be clean eaten up, a 
catastrophe by no means improbable, do not charge 
it to the panthers or the wolves, lay no blame upon 
the bears or any of the beasts of prey, but to the 
BLACK FLY. In that imhappy event, my last 
injunction is: Keep out of the Saranac Woods 

IN THE MOKTH OF JUNE. 

14* 



^FPEN^DIX- 



^. 



SUNRISE IN THK COUNTRY. 

" I've seen the snn rise. I saw his Tangnard of light that 
preceded his ascent from the other side of the world. I saw 
him when he leaped into his chariot and started westward 
across the sky." — Letter from a Correspondent. 

We have witnessed the same phenomenon three 
times during the present month. Once we were 
on the St. Lawrence, along the island that lays op- 
posite Cape Vincent. Once we were on Lake 
Champlain, opposite Burlington ; and once sitting 
on a venerable, moss-covered boulder overlooking 
a beautiful meadow just by the village of Lenox, 
in the State of Massachusetts. It is a glorious 
thing, the rising of the sun of a calm, clear sum- 
mer morning. At Gape Vincent we rose while the 
larger stars were yet shining faintly in the firma- 
ment, and the moon was still visible in the sky. 
The morning was warm and still, the river imruffled, 
and we started with an early waterman in a row- 
boat from the dock, to troU for the pickerel, bass or 
muscalange, if they choose to make the acquaint- 
ance of our baited hook. "We heard the first 



334 Appkndix A. 

morning song of the wild bird, and saw tlie last star 
vanisli in depths of the sky. We saw the light 
grow brighter and brighter in the east, as the twi- 
light faded into day. "We had j ust hooked a famous 
pickerel, and were drawing him in on a line 250 
feet in length, as the sirn came up over the eastern 
hUl in all the brightness of his glory. It was a 
splendid thing to look upon, and so was the pickerel 
that had our hook in his jaw. The sun blazed 
along the surface of the water, dazzling the eye by 
his sheen, and the pickerel floundered in his astonish- 
ment, while we looked first upon the one and then 
upon the other, rejoicing in the double favor that 
was granted us, and thinking 

" How happy coald we be with either, 
Were the other dear chatmer away." 

We admired the sunrise, and hauled in on the 
pickerel. We made prey of the fish, and let the 
sun go on in his course. 

At Burlington, we were out on the lake alone in 
a skiff by the time the fiirst rays of the sun illumin- 
ed the Eastern horizon. It was a calm, beautiful 
morning, the air was balmy and fall of invigorating 
freshness. A light breeze rippled the surface of 
the water, as we rowed out from the shore to watch 
the departure of the darkness, and see the lighting 
up of the world by the sim, as he came up from his 
resting place. We saw how he first gave his rays 
to glow on the tops of the mountains away off in 



Sunrise in the Qountby. 335 

Essex, while in tlie valleys at their base the gray- 
ness of twilight still lingered. We saw the sunlight 
chasing the shadows down the sides of the moun- 
tains, and we looked upon the sun as he seemed to 
hang for a moment, like a great torch among the 
trees that stood out on the eastern summits against 
the sky, and then how he rose above them to go 
forth on his course, like a charioteer of old, with his 
steeds of fire. He seemed to rejoice in the great- 
ness of his strength as he leaped clear of the hills 
and moimted aloft in the sky. The darkness van- 
ished from before him, and the moon and stars hid 
themselves from the glory of his presence. We 
breakfasted on a yellow bass that morning, which 
was but one of a half-dozen we caught before the 
sun was clear of the tree-tops. 

At Lenox, among the mountains of the Old Bay 
State, we saw the sun rise again. Lenox is a sweet 
spot, surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills. Beauti- 
fal.farms are spread out all around the town. Beauti- 
ful roads, lined on either side by the sugar maple ; 
beautiful streams and beautiful lakes are within 
range of a morning walk, or an evening drive. It 
has pleasant fields and shady groves in sight, and 
deep ravines where the grass grows to the edge of 
the soft-toned brooklet, as it sings faintly over the 
smooth pebbles, and the deep shadows of the arch- 
ing trees cool the heat of noon. We rose, as at 
Cape Yincent and Burlington, while the twilight 
yet hovered over the fields and town. We saw the 
thin mist rising from the meadows, and creeping up 



336 Appendix A. 

tlie sides of the hills, hiding their shadowy verdure, 
and making them look like the fair face of a maiden 
shining dimly in its beauty through a veil of gauze. 
We heard the wild matin songs as they broke in 
their gladness from the stillness of night, and watch- 
ed the swallows as they started from the bams and 
chimneys on their arrowy flight. We heard the ' 
first note of the meadow-lark, as he flew from his 
night perch, and the last song of the whip-poor-will, 
as he folded his wings to rest for the day. We sat 
for half an hour on a venerable boulder that over- 
looked a meadow. On our right, at a few rods dis- 
tance, was a half-grown elm, on the topmost branch 
of which sat a brown thrush, singing his morning 
song, and swaying gracefully in the breeze while 
he sang. On our left was a thorn bush, among the 
thick branches of which the catbird mocked the 
brown thrush, while over against us, perched upon 
a fence stake, was a quail, whistling in his clear and 
silvery notes to his mate, as she brooded in her fond- 
ness over her treasured nest. 

'Twas a pleasant thing to watch the departure of 
the night shadows, to hear the voices of the morning 
breaking into harmony, and look upon the sun as 
he came up from behind the eastern hills. It seemed 
to us that the gladness grew in intensity, and that 
a new song burst forth as he came into view. The 
brown thrush sang with a clearer voice, and the cat- 
bird in his thorn bush mocked with fresh vigor, 
while the bob-o-link darted up from the meadow- 



Sunrise in the Country. 337 

grass "witli a freer bound, and while lie shook the 
dew-drops from his wing, and balanced himself 
gracefully in the air, sang with a prolonged lay, and 
a gladder energy. 

Sunrise in the country is a glorious sight, a vision 
infinitely more pleasant than those which visit the 
pillow of the sluggard while indulging in his morn- 
ing sleep. Go out into the country among the moun- 
tains, or among the fields, where everything is fresh, 
where the dew-drops glisten on the grass, or sparkle 
on the forest leaves — where the morning breeze 
comes to you fragrant from the meadows or the foli- 
age of the old woods. Look upon the stars as they 
depart from the sky, and upon the sun as he comes 
up from ' his bed of darkness. It is a glorious ex- 
hibition, and open for all. It can be seen without 
money, and enjoyed without price. Go into the 
country and see the sun rise. 



B, 



THE "SAINTS' BEST." 

You need not take down your map and look for 
the location of " Tke Saints' East." It is not laid 
down on the map. You need not look into your 
gazetteer. It is not in the gazetteer. You need not 
inquire of the oldest inhabitant about its locality, 
for he has never heard of it. It is not the place that 
good people have been looking for, for ages, the 
place where Christian people hope to repose when 
earth, with its cares and sorrows, shall have passed 
away. And yet " The Saints' Rest" is a veritable 
locality. It occupies a place in the world, and is 
not inaptly named. First let me tell you how we 
got here, and who I mean by we^ for I am not 
alone. 

At Coudersport we took a lumber wagon, and 
packing our movables, consisting of provisions, 
jfishing tackle, and a rifle, took to the woods, over 
a road such as you have probably never travelled. 
Great bags stuffed with hay, as compactly as they 
could be, and laid in the bottom of the box, con- 
stituted our seats. I said we took to the woods 



"The Saints' Eest." 339 

and we went up and up for hours, towards the top 
of a range of hills that seemed to have no summit, 
over a road that was good, at least for dyspeptics, 
if jolting over roots and topling down into deep 
holes is beneficial. Once in two or three miles we 
would come to a clearing of a few acres, with a log- 
house, or maybe two or three near each other, com- 
posing a little settlement surrounded by a dense and 
sombre forest of great hemlocks, from the Umbs of 
which the lichens hung, and above which mountain 
peaks went looming up towards the sky. 

Towards four o'clock we came in sight of a little 
settlement of three or four families, the entire of 
whose clearings may have amounted to a hundred 
and fifty acres. A log house for each family, and 
two or three bams, constituted all the buildings in 
sight. The day had been excessively warm and 
sultry. The tree frogs were piping all along the 
road ; the leaves on the trees as they stirred in the 
sluggish breeze, lifted their leaves fan-like to the 
sun, making the tree-top shine all over like silver. 
As the day advanced, clouds came flying over in 
solemn procession from the southwest, indicating that 
a storm was on the march. As we entered this httle 
clearing dark and heavy clouds came heaving sol- 
eionly up over the western hills, the low growl of the 
thunder was heard in the distance, faint flashes of 
lightning glanced across the sky, whUe around us was 
the gloomy stillness that precedes a summer storm. 
We were some dozen nules from the " The Saints' 



340 Appendix B. 

Eest," seven or eight of wliicli lay througli woods 
without a house. We applied at one of the houses 
in sight, and were accommodated for the night. 
We had got ourselves and our team comfort- 
ably housed, and the storm came on. It was a 
goodly sight to see the rain come down as it did 
then, as if the clouds had been torn asunder to 
empty their contents at once in a rushing flood 
upon the earth. It was a goodly sight to see the 
lightning, flashing and streaking, in a ragged, zig- 
zag from the clouds down to the forest-covered hills, 
and it was a goodly sound to hear the sudden boom 
of the thunder as it burst like artillery upon the ear, 
and went rolling and dying away among the moun- 
tains. In an hour the rain was over, and the bow 
of promise hung arching upon the rear of the storm. 
In the morning we breakfasted with our entertainer, 
compensated him for his trouble as far as money 
could do, and grateful for his kindness, took up our 
journey again for the " Saints' Eest." You may 
judge of the quality of the road when I tell you we 
were some seven hOurs in going less than a dozen 
miles. We passed over a high range, and went 
singing and jolting, whistling and laughing down 
towards the Sinnemahoning, in the pleasant valley 
of which is the " Saints' Eest." Our last mile or 
two lay along a stream that came down from the 
hnis, beautifully clear and cold, and I left my 
companions with the promise to procure a mess of 
fish for our dinners. I redeemed that pledge, for 



"The Saints' Eest." 341 

within two hours of their arrival at the " Saints' 
Eest," I was there with a basket literally fuU, of as 
beautiful speckled trout as an epicure would wish 
to see. 

And now you ask who compose the we, of which 
I have been speaking, for you are aware that in 
these letters I indulge in no editorial plurals. Well, 
first and foremost, there is the Dominie, a pleasant 
and a Christian man, one who, while he never for- 
gets the dignity of his high calling, is neither a zealot 
nor a bigot. He is a man of varied reading and ripe 
scholarship, full of pleasant anecdote, and of a cheer- 
ful wit. He is no ascetic, moving along through 
the world with a brow of solemn severity, who " wiU 
not smile though Nestor swears the joke is laugha- 
ble." Then there is the dominie's wife, a cheerful- 
hearted, pleasant and accomplished lady. Then 
there is my friend the lawyer, a man whose weak- 
ness is a pleasant trout stream, a rod and fly — one 
who takes to the water like a duck, as if he were 
amphibious, who, with rod in hand, will stalk 
boldly into the stream, and. throw the fly with the 
water rippling around his knee-pans, defying all the 
spirits of neuralgia, rheumatism and lumbago; a 
man, too, of giant sympathies, and a big heart. And 
then, there is his wife, who sings like a bird, and 
loves nature with the strong affection of a devotee 
— a most sensible and excellent woman, younger 
than the dominie's wife, and less serious, per- 
haps, as if fitting for a lawyer's lady. Then there 



342 Appendix B. 

is my own wife, of wliom it does not become me to 
speak, save that we started in life together before 
either had numbered twenty years, and have walked 
quietly and peacefully through many dark days and 
sore trials, to the present time, and no repining or 
unkind word has she spoken, to me at least. Here, 
then, we are, six of us, at the " Saints' Eest," in the 
sequestered valley of the Sinnemahoning, and here 
we propose to stay for a week. By the way, shortly 
after I left the wagon, and while the ladies were 
talking about the wild animals that belong in these 
old forests, a fine deer stepped from the covert of 
the woods, on the other side of the river, into an 
open space on the bank, and having gazed for a 
moment upon them, hoisted his white flag and 
bounded away. It was a pleasant and a new sight 
to them. They described, with enthusiasm, his sym- 
metry of form, and his graceful movements, as he 
bounded into the forest. 

To you, who profess only a love for brick houses 
and paved thoroughfares, who prefer the long 
vista of a street, with the rumbling of carriages 
and a moving panorama of sidewalks covered with 
people, to tall mountains and old forests, and 
streams and fields, there would be nothing inviting 
here. Every locality has its legends and every 
place its history, and why should not this quiet 
spot have its history and its legends, too ? The 
" Saints' Eest" has its history as well as the largest 
city. It is only a clearing of some five-and-twenty 



"The Saints' Best." 343 

acres, having a house of the composite order of 
architecttire, being a log house and a frame one con- 
joined. My friend, the lawyer who is with me, a 
year or two since furnished its owner with the 
means of buUdiag an addition to his log-house, to 
accommodate him and his friends on their fishing 
excursions to the valley of the Sinnemahoning. 
While he and his male companions came, without 
their wives, it was called the "Sinners' Home." 
Last season they brought their wives, and so glow- 
ing were their descriptions of its charms, that the 
old name was expunged, and it was christened the 
" Saints' Eest'." 

We are here, six of us, as I told you in my last, 
in one of the most primitive and secluded spots in 
the world. In front of the door runs the Sinnema- 
honing, a most pleasant little river, on its way to 
the noble Susquehanna. In the still night, and in 
the early morning, you hear its gentle song as it 
flows along in ripples over the smooth stones. To 
the right, a mountain peak runs upward towards 
the sky to the height of some fifteen hundred or 
two thousand feet, covered with gigantic hemlocks 
to the summit. In front is a mountain range, regu- 
lar in form, extending north and south, which 
forms the eastern barrier to the narrow valley of the 
Sinnemahoning, rising to the height of fifteen hun- 
dred feet, with a steep acchvity, covered with dark 
evergreens, the mountain birch, and gnarled maples 
to the top. To the left, the valley stretchiag away 



344 Appendix B. 

to the north, and from among the arching trees, 
that reach their long arras out over the water, and 
the dense willows that grow thick and luxuriant 
along the shore, the river comes quietly out as from 
a cavern, and is lost to the view in its solemn 
shades. In the rear of the house is another moun- 
tain, lifting its sombre head to the clouds, to the 
left of which a little stream comes down through a 
mountain gorge, while on the right is a pleasant 
valley reaching away up between the hills, where 
the old forest stands in all its primeval grandeur, 
and through the centre of which a cold stream 
carries its tribute to the river, in sight of the 
" Saints' Eest." Here, then, in this bowl, this valley, 
surrounded by high mountains, is the " Saints' 
Eest." Pleasant fields are around the house. A 
foot-bridge consisting of the long trunk of a great 
pine, hewn on one side, spans the river, beneath 
which the water spreads out still, placid and lake- 
like. Just below, there is a ripple where the river 
goes singing along over the smooth stones, swirling 
away under caverned banks, and then hiding itself 
in deep eddies among the pHed-up drift wood that 
bridges it when the water is low. The owner of 
this spot has been here some nineteen years, and is 
one of nature's nobility, an honest and a Christian 
man. He is the owner of a hundred and fifty 
acres of land, and was the first man that ventured 
into this wild region as a settler. He is an Irish- 
man. He came from Philadelphia at that early 



"The Saints' Eest." 345 

day as an agent for a large land owner. He erected 
for his principal a dam across tlie river, and a log- 
mill. The dam is standing where it was bmlt, and 
the log-mill is there but it has gone to ruin — ^the 
rafters decayed, and the roof fallen in — ^the water- 
way has become filled up, and willows and alders 
grow around the doors, and reach their arms in at 
the windows, and hang them over the logs that 
formed the outer walls of the miU, hiding what 
remains of the structure from view, as if to conceal 
the decay and desolation that has settled down 
upon it. 

I have been exceedingly interested in hearing his 
excellent and simple-minded wife recount the scenes 
through which she passed in the first years of her 
residence here. On one occasion #he took her in- ' 
fant in her arms and went out to where her hus- 
band was engaged in chopping down the trees. Let 
me tell you her story as she told it to me, in her 
own simple language. " I was lonesome," she said, 
"in the house, and I took Lizzie" (her daughter, 
now a wife and mother) " in my arms, and went 
out to where my husband was at work. She was 
a little baby then, but a few weeks old, and I wrap- 
ped her in a shawl to keep the wind from blowing 
upon her. When I came out to where my husband 
was, I told him I'd help pick up the brush, and he 
told me to lay Lizzie down by the side of a stump. 
She was asleep, and I wrapped her up carefully and 
laid her down among the bushes, and went to 
15 



346 Appendix B. 

gathering up the brusli and piling them in heaps. 
My husband was cutting down a large tree at a 
little distance, and I went up to where he was. I 
asked him which way the tree woiild fall, and he 
pointed in a direction different from where my 
baby lay. I stood by him, seeing the chips fly as 
he swung his axe, and watched the tree aa it began 
to reel to its fall like a drunken man. It began to 
shake at the top as if in great trouble, swayed for 
a moment this way and that, and then started, 
slowly at first, right towards where my baby lay. 
You can't teU what my feelings were. My heart 
swelled with horror almost to bursting as the tree 
went reeling to its fall. I screamed in agony as it 
went sweeping along through the air, and, wild 
with terror, thrust my fingers into my ears to shut 
out the death-scream of my child, and ran like a 
crazy woman into the woods. My husband ran to 
where my baby lay, and was there almost as soon 
as the tree touched the ground. There by the side 
of the stump, with the broken and crushed limbs 
all around it, lay my baby unharmed. He turned 
and ran after me into the woods, hallooing to me to 
stop and come back, and that Lizzie wasn't hurt. 
That was a glad voice to me, and the words went 
to my heart at first like a dream. I stopped for a 
moment to listen again. 'Lizzie is safe,' cried 
my husband, 'come back.' I couldn't yet fully 
understand the meaning of what he said. ' LizziB 
is safe ' seemed to be sounding all around me. It 



"The Saints' Best." 347 

came down like a voice from tlie sky, and upward 
like a voice from the earth. The great trees all 
around me all seemed to have voices of gladness, 
and aU seemed to say 'Lizzie is safe.' 'Come 
back,' I heard my husband say again, 'Lizzie 
aint hurt ;' and everything around me seemed full 
of happy laughter and great joy. I stopped and 
listened in bewilderment, and as I did so, ' Lizzie 
is safe ' was anywhere, above, below and around me, 
everything cried 'Lizzie is safe.' My husband 
came up to me and took me by the hand, and said 
kindly, 'Don't be frightened, Lizzie isn't hurt;' 
and then a trembling came over me, and my 
strength seemed to be all gone. Li a moment I 
was better, and when my mind took in the sense 
of my husband's words, I thanked God with a full 
heart that he had turned a great sorrow from me. 
I went with my husband to where I left my baby, 
and there lay the little thing, hid away among the 
broken limbs of the great hemlock, and the bent 
and tangled bushes, like Moses among the rushes, 
fast asleep. The great hemlock had, in its fall, 
struck the stump by the side of which Lizzie lay, 
and glanced off on the other side ; but its limbs, 
broken and ragged, had been forced into the ground 
all around her, and it was a wonder and a great 
mercy that she was not crushed. 

"I took her up and went home and laid her in her 
cradle, and then knelt down and thanked the great 
and good God, that takes care of his creatures, even 



848 Appendix B. 

in the deep forests, and tlie lone woods. I've pass- 
ed through many sorrows, and I never wept as 
long at once as I did then, but it wasn't with grief. 
I was very happy. My heart was very light, but 
I couldn't laugh. It seemed as though joy like 
mine could only speak in a low hushed voice, and 
be seen only in tears. Lizzie has been a kind, good 
girl, all her life, and I often teU her how lonely and 
sorrowful my life would have been, had she been 
crushed to death by that great tree felled by her 
father's hands." 

We arrived here of a Saturday afternoon, and 
it being ascertained that one of our number was a 
clergyman, the good lady of the house urged him to 
preach to the settlers on the coming Sabbath. To 
this he cheerfully consented, and word was sent to 
all the families on the Sinnemahoning, some six or 
seven in all. On the morrow they came in, hus- 
bands, wives, and little children, to hear what was 
not often permitted them in their wilderness home 
— ^the preaching of the gospel, and to mingle in the 
pubho worship of God on the day of his appoint- 
ment. The number was small, but I have never 
seen a more attentive and seemingly devout audi- 
ence. When the service was over, they gathered 
around the excellent dominie, shook hiTn cordially 
and gratefully by the hand, and then departed 
quietly and cheerfully to their homes. Blessings 
on these good people that have made their homes 
away out here in these narrow and secluded valleys. 



"The Saints' Eest." 349 

beneatli the shadow of these tall mountains, and 
amid the gloom and seclusion of these ancient 
forests. 

I have been here a week, and have as yet seen no 
man or woman, save those who came with me, who 
belongs outside of this sequestered valley. I have 
seen no team passing along the road, no traveller 
winding his way to some remoter spot, or to some 
settlement further in the wilderness. I have, how- 
ever, seen the mail boy that comes to this neighbor- 
hood once a week on horseback. The post-office is 
about a mile from us, and is " the last of the series.'' 
The post-boy delivers his collapsed mail bags to the 
post-master, feeds his weary nag, and then turns 
back towards home. There is no post-office beyond 
this, on this side of the mountains. There are fifteen 
voters in the town, and the quarterly receipts at the 
post-office, I understand, average about seventy-five 
cents per quarter. 

I love this lonely region — I could dally here for 
weeks among the hills, and forests, and streams. I 
hear the old sounds that were familiar to me in my 
boyhood, and see the things that I have not seen 
since my early youth. In the evening, so delight- 
fully cool, we sit on the foot-bridge, and listen to 
the old owls away up on the sides of the mountain, 
talking to each other among the old hemlock trees. 
"Hoo! hoo! hoohol" says one on the right. 
" Hoo ! hoo ! hooho !" says another on the left, and 
"Hoo I hoo I hooho!" says a third among the 
15* 



350 Appendix B. 

branches of a great tree near us, and their solemn 
voices come out on the night air, like those of the 
"wood demons, as if inquiring who it is that invade 
their territory and profane their ancient sanctuaries 
by human footsteps, and the voice of civilization. 
Along the stream the frogs croak, and the peepers 
send their shrill voices from among the grass in the 
damp and marshy places. The raccoon calls from 
the margin of the woods along the clearing, and is 
answered from away off in the forest. The fire- 
flies flash their tiny torches along the meadow, and 
over the stiU waters. The voice of the river is 
heard away below us, as it flows over the riffles, 
singing as it dances over the smooth stones, in a 
ceaseless chaunt, and the wind murmurs softly 
among the thick foliage of the trees. Then, when 
we have listened to all these forest sounds, so 
ancient and so primitive, we lift up our own voices 
in song. I said in a former letter, that we had with 
us a lady (the lawyer's wife) who could " sing like 
a bird," and it was a pleasant thing to hear her 
sweet clear voice swell out on the night air, full and 
melodious, and to note how the other sounds ceased 
as echo prolonged the strains, as if enraptured by 
the new and pleasant music. 

"We have many romantic spots to resort to in the 
heat of noon, where we talk over the things of the 
outside world in a quiet way, as we sit around on 
the green knolls or the trunks of -the fallen trees. 
There is a little island near the foot-bridge, covered 



"The Saints' Best." 351 

with great trees, from which, the underbrush has 
been cleared away, so that the ground is covered 
with a delightful grassy verdure. Above, .the arms 
of the trees are lovingly intertwined, their thick 
foliage shutting out the sunshine, and making a 
shade beneath, delightfully cool and sweet, while the 
rippling waters are murmuring aU around. This is 
one of our favorite resorts when the sun is high ; and 
were all those that we love — our children, and our 
heart companions — around us, it would be hard to 
part from the charming spot. As we were sitting 
on the foot-bridge I spoke of, on the Sunday even- 
ing after our arrival here, the inquiry arose as to how 
many trout would be required for a breakfast for 
all. "We settled upon thirty, as the number that 
could be safely regarded as a full supply — ^being 
five to each person — and I promised to procure them 
in time. I can never sleep late in the morning out- 
side of a city or large town. I know not why it is, 
but in the country I am always awake by the earli- 
est dawn. It was so here — ^I was wide awake be- 
fore the day-break, and as I lay listening to the 
ceaseless sound of the river, I heard the first song 
of the first bird of the morning. I rose and dressed 
myself, and long before the sun had thrown a ray 
upon the mountain, I was ready with my rod and 
basket, to redeem my promise of the night before. 
I could have caught the requisite supply of trout 
within sight of the house, but I chose to have a ram- 
ble, as well as a pleasant time with the fish before 



352 Appendix B. 

breakfast, and I started off up tlie stream that came 
down tkrough. tKe valley I spoke of in a former let- 
ter. A pathway led up the valley, which I follow- 
ed for a mile. I have written so much about the 
music of the woods, that it may well have become 
tiresome, but I venture to still say that it seemed to 
me I never heard the songs and sounds so ftdl, so va- 
ried, so gleeful and so happy, as they appeared to 
me then. On every side, and from everywhere 
came the voices of wild things, some loud and bois- 
terous, some solemn and deep, some hoarse and gut- 
tural, and others clear and shrill, but all blending 
in nature's harmony, and all full of gladness and joy. 
There is no sorrowful sound among the voices that one 
hears in the woods — sounds of terror there may be ; 
the thunders roll through the sky, or burst in start- 
ling peals, the tornado sweeps by in its wrath and 
majesty, the tempest roars in its power — all these 
speak of the mighty strength and power of God, 
but there is in the whole range of natural voices 
that one hears in the wilderness, no accent of sor- 
row, no note of grief. 

A mile up this valley I came to a clearing of 
some half dozen acres, which, however, was without 
a possessor. The fences were all gone, the roof of 
the log-house had fallen in, the chimney had fallen 
down, and blackberry bushes clogged up the door, 
while the rank weeds grew where once was the 
floor. The settler that made this clearing, had 
abandoned it long ago. The wilderness was too 



"The Saints' Eest." 353 

lonesome for him. His wife pined for lier kindred, 
and after two or three years of solitude and trial, he 
departed leaving this cleared spot in the forest as 
the only memorial of his former presence. As he 
left it so it remains, excepting such decay and deso- 
lation as comes with time, and, as is sure to be writ- 
ten, upon what is abandoned by the care of man. I 
sat down by what was once the door-yard of this 
primitive dwelling — a spring of pure cold water 
came bubbling up at my feet, and ran away in a 
little brooklet, to the large stream that I heard in 
the distance. The sun was just beginning to Ulum- 
ine with his first rays the peaks around. The thin 
mist was stealing slowly up the sides of the moun- 
tains, while around me still lingered deep shadow, 
and the grayness of the morning twilight. I sat 
here for half an hour watching the sunlight chasing 
the shadow in a long line down the mountain sides, 
and listening to the sounds that were coming from 
the woods around. From within the old walls of 
the old log-house, among the rank weeds and bro- 
ken timbers, a porcupine came stealing out, and un- 
conscious of my presence wandered all around me, 
seemingly looking for grass-hoppers, and insects or 
worms that were chilled by the night-damps. He 
came to the little brook, within a rod of me, and 
drank; I remained perfectly stOl, and he wandered 
carelessly away into the woods, never discovering 
that the thing he took for a stump by the spring, 
was a man. 



354 Appendix B. 

I rigged my fishing apparatus and struck thiough 
the woods to the stream that I heard, and which 
flows towards and empties into the Sinnemahoning, 
within a few rods of the " Saints' Eest." My hook 
had scarcely touched the water when it was seized 
by a trout. I. found no difficulty in supplying the 
promised number. I had caught thirty in fishing 
less than that nimiber of rods, and that after reject- 
ing aU the small ones. I added eight to the num- 
ber, and then returned by the path along the valley, 
and by which I had entered the forest. I was back 
while all my companions were yet sleeping soundly 
in their beds. I said I hear again old sounds that 
were familiar to me in my boyhood. They are the 
cow-bells iu the woods, and the sheep-bells along 
the fences ; the woodman's axe, as he battles with 
the forest, and the crash of the trees as they come 
thundering to the ground ; the cackling of fowls in 
the barn-yards, and the loud baying of the house 
dog, as some new sound stirs in the forest — all these 
are hke household words to me, but they belong to 
the "long, long ago." 

It is a curious thing to watch the growth of a 
region that is young and wild — ^to see it change from 
a wilderness into a fruitful and populous country — 
to look upon the march of civilization, as it moves 
along with a slow and toilsome progress, sweeping 
away the old things of Nature, and spreading out 
all around the things that pertain to its dominion. 
Some bold-hearted adventurer marches into the 



"The Saints' Eest." 355 

woods, witli Ms axe on one shoulder and liis rifle on 
tte other, and falls to chopping down the great trees. 
Presently there is a spot in the forest, on which the 
sun shines down bright and clear. The logs and 
brush are burned up, and a field of grain waves in 
the summer winds. After a little will be seen a 
log-house, and a woman sitting on the door-Sill with 
a brood of tough, hardy little ones, tumbling and 
frolicking about her. You will hear the blows of an 
axe, as the settler battles with the tall forest trees, 
and you wiU hear them through the day crashing 
and thundering to the ground. You will hear the 
barking of a house-dog, the cackling of fowls, and 
the quacking of the ducks and geese. You will hear 
the loud ding-dong of the cow-bell in the woods, 
and the tinkling of the sheep-beUs along the fences. 
These are new sounds in the forest, and the old 
woods may know by them that their time is come. 
Away off, perhaps nules away, another hardy settler 
puts up his cabin, and makes war on the ancient 
forest trees. Year after year the woods are pushed 
back by the fences. Fields spread out wider and 
wider, until settlement meets settlement, and the old 
primeval things have vanished away. Painted 
houses have succeeded the log-cabins. Flocks and 
herds, feeding in rich pastures, are everywhere seen. 
The sound of the woodman's axe, and the crash of 
the falling timber, is still. The burning fallows, 
sending their dense columns of smoke, wreathing 
and curling towards the sky, are things that have 



356 Appekdix B. 

ceased to be, for the old woods have been swept 
away. The ding-dong of the cow-bells and the 
tinkling of the sheep-bells are no longer heard. 
Stage-coaches are rolling along the highways, or an 
engine dragging with lightning speed a train of 
cars, loaded with human freight, goes thundering 
along the valleys. Villages and great farms, and 
school-houses, and church-spires, are everywhere 
seen, filling up the view that once swept over a 
boundless forest. Civilization has settled down with 
its train of concomitants, and the things of old have 
vanished from its presence. 

As it has been elsewhere, so will it one day be 
here. Farms wiU be spread out in these valleys, 
fields will creep up the sides of the hiUs. These 
streams that have rolled, during the long forever of 
the past, in untrammelled freedom, roaring and 
surging in the spring and autumn freshets, and flow- 
ing pleasantly and quietly in the summer months, 
will be harnessed into the service of man — ^be chain- 
ed to the revolving wheel, and made to grind corn, 
or throw the shuttle and spia. True, these tall 
mountains wiU. stand here ia all their solemn 
grandeur as they now do, but these broad forests 
that they now overlook will be gone. The great 
trees that give a sombre beauty to their steep acclivi- 
ties or crown their lofty summits, will pass into the 
structure of human dwellings, or edifices erected 
by human labor.